Overseas developer eyes off Hobart’s Welcome Stranger Hotel
A CBD hotel could be the next piece of prime Hobart real estate to be snapped up by an overseas buyer.
Welcome Stranger Hotel owner Peter Scollard is in negotiations with the representatives of a potential buyer, business sources have told the Mercury.
It’s understood an Asia-based buyer approached Scollard six months ago with an offer to buy the business, on the corner of Davey and Harrington streets.
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Talks are on hold over the holiday period but are set to resume in coming weeks.
The developer’s plans for the site have not been revealed.
But it would be considered an ideal site for a hotel with its proximity to Salamanca, the waterfront and CBD.
A pub has stood on the site since 1833, previously known as The Freemasons Hotel.
The potential sale comes after Singaporean property tycoon James Koh snapped up five prime Hobart sites in recent years for hotel development.
Koh’s Fragrance Group controversially lodged development applications for high-rise hotels in Davey and Collins streets worth a combined $230 million.
The Welcome Stranger sale could be made more likely with poker machine reforms on the horizon, sources said, with some pub owners looking to cash in on the real estate value of their properties.
If re-elected, the Liberal Government will put the state’s poker machine licence out to tender, ending Federal Group’s monopoly, when the current agreement expires in 2023.
Labor has said it will strip pokies from pubs and clubs by 2023 to help address problem gambling.
Scollard declined to comment when contacted by the Mercury.
But in a submission to Liquor and Gaming’s review of the Responsible Gambling Mandatory Code of Practice for Tasmania, he argued against tougher restriction on poker machine operators.
“One understands that the commission is only trying to implement change to benefit the problem gambler,” Scollard wrote.
“But why should the non-problem gambler and the general community have to also bear the burden of very few?
“What would be much more beneficial would be the present community service levy be used in a much more effective way then it is presently.”
This article from The Mercury was originally published as “Negotiations over sale of Hobart’s Welcome Stranger Hotel to overseas buyer”.