Aloft Perth hotel in $100m Singapore sale

Singapore’s Hiap Hoe is keen on the Aloft Perth.
Singapore’s Hiap Hoe is keen on the Aloft Perth.

The carve-up of late construction tycoon Len Buckeridge’s property empire is accelerating with Singapore’s Hiap Hoe positioning to buy his company’s Aloft Perth hotel, and an office complex, for more $100 million, as attention turns to his business holdings.

The listed Singaporean developer forged into the Australian market in 2013 and is best known in Melbourne, where it developed a hotel and residential project, Marina Tower.

It opened that Four Points by Sheraton on the Docklands last year. Buying Aloft, which is also managed by Marriott International, would deepen its ties with the hotel operator.

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Hiap Hoe bought two projects in central Melbourne, but later sold the properties at 380 Lonsdale St and 206 Bourke St.

Hiap Hoe forged into the Perth office market in 2014 with the purchase of the 130 Stirling St building on the northern fringe of the CBD for $90 million.

The latest Perth play by Hiap Hoe comes after Malaysian group YTL — likely acting for its listed hospitality REIT, which owns the Sydney Harbour, Brisbane and Melbourne Marriott hotels — emerged as the likely purchaser of Buckeridge’s The Westin Perth for about $200 million.

Once the property sales are completed, the focus will shift to Buckeridge Group’s building ­materials and construction units.

The company has confirmed it was negotiating about selling the business, either in one line or via a break-up, but has refused to comment on whether listed group Wesfarmers was interested.

Wesfarmers has been tipped as a potential purchaser due to its interest in building materials and construction, while remaining property holdings, including a resident portfolio, would probably be dealt with separately.

Some of the units are likely to appeal to separate buyers as BCG is both the largest home builder in Western Australia and the country’s top private mining and construction company.

A spokeswoman for the BGC Group says it will not comment on “ongoing discussions in relation to the sale of its hotel properties”.

She adds that BCG has appointed three independent non-executive directors, and will “progress the sale process in a considered and informed way”.

The overall Buckeridge estate is worth an estimated $2.5 billion. His heirs started selling the sprawling empire founded by the entrepreneur more than half a century ago by listing the two hotels and the office complex in July.

BGC’s operations had been under a cloud since Buckeridge’s death in 2014. Litigation involving 22 parties has split one of Australia’s wealthiest families.

Some family members objected to being left shares in BGC — founded by Buckeridge in Perth in the 1960s and now controlled by his two eldest sons, Sam and Andrew — rather than cash.

The hotels and office complex are being sold through JLL Hotels & Hospitality’s Mark Durran and JLL’s John William and Tom Nattrass, who declined to comment.

The Aloft Perth, with 224 rooms, and the adjoining leased office building known as 25 Rowe, were offered together.

– with Lisa Allen

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