Oaks Hotel sale: Iconic Neutral Bay pub sells for close to massive $175 million asking price
One of Sydney’s most-loved pubs, the Oaks Hotel in Neutral Bay, has sold for close to its massive $175m asking price.
The North Shore hotel was listed in August with an eyewatering asking price of $175m amid a boom in hospitality properties.
It was sold on Thursday with reports the vendors, the Andrews family who have run the pub since 1975, were forced to discount the sale price by as much as $55m down to $120m.
However General Manager Andrew Thomas said the final sticker price was much closer to the massive $175m mark.
“It’s gone to a local family in the area. I’ve not met them physically,” Mr Thomas told The Australian Financial Review.
“It’s not far away from the advertised price. Both parties are very happy with the deal.”
The price record for an Aussie pub is currently the $160m paid for the Crossroads Hotel in Casula last year.
The Andrews bought the leasehold for the pub for $250,000 in 1975 and then the freehold in 1990 for around $12m.
Pub tsars Justin Hemmes and Arthur Laundy were said to be interested in the Oaks Hotel, however according to reports, the buyer is a local film industry figure.
Sales agents JLL Hotel’s John Musca and Ben McDonald have confirmed the pub has changed hands but have not revealed a sales figure.
The new owners are expected to take the keys of the Military Rd institution in three weeks’ time.
“The national icon is being offered by private owners of 50 years – the Thomas family – with patriarch David ‘Taffy’ Thomas ready to pass custodianship of this remarkable asset to the next generational owner,” a JLL media release read when the property was listed last year.
“The family’s ownership of the hotel commenced in 1975 when David acquired the leasehold interest in the hotel, with support from his mother Alala, from Tooth & Co.
“They have lovingly and meticulously expanded and grown the landmark over nearly 50 years of family operation. Idolised for the famous beer garden and 80-year-old English Oak tree, the venue today represents one of the largest multifaceted hotels in the country.
“The hotel remains the drinking establishment of choice for many famous identities and sports stars and houses the John Meillon OBE Bar, named after the renowned actor.”
The Oaks sits on a prominent 2,188 sqm site with a B4 Mixed Use zoning and planning guidelines allowing for up to a 5-storey development (STCA), highlighting the value-add potential of the asset.
The venue includes Taffy’s Sports Bar, Alala’s Cocktail Bar, Bar and Grill Restaurant, famous large beer garden, gaming room with 30 poker machines, extensive first floor function spaces and high-end retail bottle shop.
“Unlike other asset-classes that have seen cost of debt slow market momentum, the hotel market has continued unabated with nearly $2 billion of capital flowing into the sector in the past 12 months and trade rebounding strongly from initial COVID-19 challenges,” according to JLL Hotels and Hospitality Group.
The Group rates the asset as ‘one of the very best in the hotels class’.
“As in all real estate sectors the premier assets often only come to market once in a lifetime, which is even more prevalent in the highly protected hotel industry where assets of this scale and quality will simply never be approved or replicated again in high-end Sydney demographic locations – we’re fundamentally talking about one of the very best hotels in the asset class,” JLL Managing Director John Musca said.
Family representative Andrew Thomas said, “On the back of a spate of unsolicited approaches it just feels like the right time for the family to move on and we’ll leave The Oaks with fond memories and many friends.
“It holds a very special place in the Australian hotel landscape, and we look forward to seeing its next incarnation under the new custodians.”
The family will remain industry stakeholders with their ongoing ownership of the Winston Hills Hotel and The Entrance Hotel.