Ascendas prepares for $150m sale of Albert Park hotel

An artist’s impression of Aurora Melbourne Central.

Singapore-listed Ascendas Hospitality Trust has tapped advisers as it readies to bring the Pullman and Mercure hotel in Melbourne’s leafy Albert Park to market, with the unique property tipped to sell for $150 million-plus, potentially to a developer.

The offer of the property follows the Singapore-based trust in April pulling its entire hotel portfolio, valued at $1.4 billion, off the market.

Heavyweight investors including Blackstone, Starwood Capital Group, Hong Kong’s Gaw Capital Partners, Chinese billionaire Guo Guanchang’s Fosun International and a group led by Varde Partners had chased the Ascendas portfolio.

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But the Melbourne property is more likely to appeal to local syndicators, as well as developers. The property was held at about $135.5 million in the trust’s books and sits near Melbourne’s CBD.

The hotel has 378 rooms – 169 Pullman rooms and 209 Mercure rooms – and facilities including a restaurant, bar, cafe and executive and fitness facilities.

The managers will continue to work towards growing and enhancing the portfolio of (the trust) to deliver value and sustainable returns

The hotel also has two levels of basement parking with 510 parking lots. It has a 2305sqm convention centre that can accommodate up to 1600 people.

The Ascendas fund may simply be looking to reweight in Melbourne after last December buying the serviced apartments in the Aurora Melbourne Central project from Malaysian property developer UEM Sunrise for $120 million.

Shares in the Singapore REIT plunged when it revealed in April that it had decided to keep its portfolio, which includes seven hotels locally as well as properties in Asia. It said at the time it would instead focus on growing its portfolio.

“The managers will continue to work towards growing and enhancing the portfolio of (the trust) to deliver value and sustainable returns,” the group says.

The sale was kicked off last year, when private equity giant Blackstone lobbed an unsolicited bid for the portfolio that spans 11 hotels. The properties comprise 4200 rooms, with footholds in China, Singapore and Japan.

– with Lisa Allen

This article originally appeared on www.theaustralian.com.au/property.