Crest Hotel sale a sign of things to come

Crest Hotel sale a sign of things to come

One of the stalwart properties of the Kings Cross scene, the Crest Hotel, has been sold to the private Iris Capital Group for $65 million.

The vendor, Australand, put the asset on the market earlier this year, after it was deemed non-core to the group’s commercial and residential business.

It is currently managed by the Accor group as the Mercure Potts Point. The new owners, Sam and Ramy Arnaout, have said they plan to keep the manager in place while they review the future of the building, which is a pub on the ground floor and the 227-room, four star hotel above.

In time, the hotel could be redeveloped into apartments or mixed use, to reflect the shift in the area from being bar-dominated to inner-city trendy residences.

The sale was brokered by Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels.

The deal comes amid the introduction of two new visas, which are tipped to spur demand for investments in hotels.


According to CBRE Hotels’ Wayne Bunz and Mullins Lawyers’ Curt Schatz and Tony Hogarth, the ‘‘Significant Investor Stream Visa’’, is comprised of two new visa subclasses are: Subclass 188, the Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa, and Subclass 888, the Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa. They officially came into effect on November 24.

Mr Bunz said the new requirement is likely to open up the Australian market to Chinese investors in particular, where language skills may have been a prohibitive factor in the past.

He said there is also no upper age limit and the main applicant does not have to meet the business points test.

‘‘The purchase of a hotel, hotel resort or an island with tourist facilities, would be a qualifying business, whereas an investment in vacant land to be held for long term capital gain or rental property, might not comply,’’ Mr Bunz said.

‘‘A number of Chinese groups have inspected assets we have had on the market in recent months, many of whom have watched with keen interest to see the final form of the Significant Investor Visa.

‘‘We are expecting interest in this visa from investors considering the Day Dream Island resort and Spa.’’

Carolyn Cummins

Carolyn Cummins is Commercial Property Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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