Buildcorp’s Sukkar family buys Canobolas Hotel in Orange for $24m as regional pub boom flows

One of regional New South Wales’ most well-loved pubs has achieved a record sale result, underlining the continued strength of NSW’s central west market. Orange’s historic Canobolas Hotel will change hands late this month after nearly two decades of ownership by partners Arthur Laundy, Mark Dalton and Philip Tudor.

Orange’s historic Canobolas Hotel will change hands late this month after nearly two decades of ownership by partners Arthur Laundy, Mark Dalton and Philip Tudor.

Sydney’s well-respected Sukkar family, owners of construction giant Buildcorp, have ventured into the realm of regional pub ownership for the first time, buying the Canobolas Hotel, a popular pub in one of the fastest growing townships in NSW.

Tony and Josephine Sukkar, in a partnership with Point Group Hospitality, have paid around $24m for the historic Canobolas Hotel in Orange, in NSW’s central west, according to industry sources.

The hotel will change hands later this month after nearly 20 years of ownership by Arthur Laundy, Mark Dalton and Philip Tudor.

The sale of the iconic Canobolas Hotel follows the $20m sales of the nearby Royal and Robin Hood hotels earlier this year.

Selling agent Leonard Bongiovanni from Manenti Quinlan & Associates negotiated the sale via an off-market campaign.

“To achieve a record sale price following such strong recent results highlights the incredible strength of the market,” Mr Bongiovanni said.

The ‘Nob’, as the hotel is known by locals, is an art deco pub in the heart of town.

Built in 1939, it has an impressive street presence and loads of character – but there’s plenty of potential for the new owners to take it to the next level, Mr Bongiovanni said, adding that some of its accommodation rooms could be refurbished.

“Orange has excellent appeal as one of the towns leading Australia’s regional revival. The population has exploded to overtake Bathurst and Dubbo, and the number of annual visitors to the region grew from 1.1 million in 2017 to more than 1.8 million in 2020. It’s a fantastic place to invest,” he said.

Apart from several government agencies one of the largest employers in Orange is Newcrest, the world’s largest gold mining company.

Buildcorp’s group financial controller Mark Tonkin said it would be business as usual at the pub initially while the buyers looked at ways to give the venue a new lease of life.

“Our vision is to give the Canobolas Hotel a thoughtful facelift that celebrates its original heritage features and identity,” said Mr Tonkin, a long-time visitor to Orange.

“We plan to begin with the ground floor bar and bistro before renovating the ballroom, upstairs bars and function spaces, then moving onto the accommodation.”

The new owners will retain the hotel’s staff, with an existing staff member becoming the licensee and general manager.

“The staff are number one,” Mr Tonkin said. “We want to be an active participant in the local business community, become part of the fabric of Orange, and contribute to the prosperity of the town and wider central west region.”

Philip Tudor, part-owner of the hotel with Mark Dalton and Mr Laundy since 2003, said the decision to sell was not one that their families made lightly.

“We feel very privileged to have owned such an iconic hotel and are excited about the opportunities the sale presents for our staff and the Orange community,” said Mr Tudor.

“We welcome the Sukkar family to Orange and look forward to remaining involved with the local community through our other businesses,” Mr Tudor said.

The hotel has 14 pokies and around 45 rooms with ensuites which have been refurbished and there’s another 16 older-style rooms that are still to be renovated.

It also has a bistro and two large function rooms upstairs and a wine and whisky bar.

Mr Laundy said the hotel was bought in 2003 for about $3m and the partnership had done well out of it.

“We sold simply because I had two partners in it and they had done all the running of it, and they wanted to do something different.”

However, Mr Laundy has not lost his taste for Orange and still owns The Gladstone hotel along with the same two investment partners.