New owners for favourite Great Ocean Road beachside pub
Another famous Surf Coast pub has changed hands with the freehold to the beachside hotel at Wye River sold in a multimillion dollar deal.
Long-time freehold owners Paul and Tess Brown exit the Wye Beach Hotel after more than 30 years.
A New South Wales-based private investor secured the land and buildings for well over the stated $5.5m price guide, JLL Hotels senior vice president Will Connolly said.
The business, or leasehold, was not part of the sale.
It continues a rich vein of pub and accommodation sales along the coast, including the Apollo Bay Hotel selling for more than $10m and the Gellibrand River Hotel in the Otways for more than $1.1m in March.
Justin Hemmes’ Merivale Group secured the Lorne Hotel for $38 million in 2021, while holiday and lifestyle village owners Hampshire Property Group acquired the Collendina Caravan Park at Ocean Grove last month.
Mr Connolly said since September, 2021, JLL Hotels had sold $83m of coastal hospitality assets on the coast south-west of Geelong.
The pub freehold drew more than 150 inquiries and seven formal offers, underlining the popularity of the asset type, Mr Connolly said.
He said the property drew some of the nation’s most recognised capital funds as well as private investors, generating a sale price “well over” the stated $5.5m price guide.
“The level of interest and resultant buyer competition in the Wye Beach Hotel demonstrates yet again the furious demand for coastal hospitality assets, as well as the clear investment appetite shown in the regional pub market,” he said.
The purchaser had been looking along the coast also in New South Wales and Victoria, and fought hard to get the coastal pub asset, Mr Connolly said.
“Not just for coastal assets like this, but the regional pub market in general is extremely strong at the moment.”
The hotel has recently undergone significant upgrades with a new function and events centre that’s popular for destination weddings, along with original features including multiple trading zones such as the front deck with sweeping views across the beach, a family bistro, public bar and grassed beer garden ideal in summer.
The pub enjoys a monopoly on trade from its elevated position overlooking the town, which is 30 minutes from Lorne or Apollo Bay.
The Browns said it was a difficult and carefully considered decision to sell up.
“We wish the purchaser the very best with their sensational investment, and just as importantly, look forward to seeing the existing tenant continue to thrive in one of the world’s most beautiful locations.”