Byron Bay’s Great Northern, Lanteen Lane Hotel sold

The 1950s Great Northern Hotel.

The Mooney family has sold Byron Bay’s Great Northern Hotel and neighbouring Lanteen Lane Hotel – for a speculated price of nearly $80 million.

Moelis Australia paid $100m for the Beach Hotel in late 2019.

All up covering 2000 square metres at the north east corner of Jonson and Byron streets, the properties are trading to two Melbourne businessman – Scott Didier and Scott Emery.

JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group’s John Musca, Ben McDonald and Andrew Langsford handled the invitation-only, off-market sale process.

Twelve offers came in – from a mix of family offices and established and offshore operators – and there were two shortlisted bidding rounds.

The deal comes a month since Justin Hemmes’ Merivale paid Red Rock Leisure $13.5m for the ex-Cheeky Monkey’s bar and backpackers, and a neighbouring shop, on Jonson St.

Six weeks ago a wealth fund headed by the Mustaca and Pelligra families outlaid c$120m for the diagonally adjacent Mercato on Byron shopping centre, which includes a large vacant tract earmarked for a hotel.

Next door to that, Podia spent $18.5m in February for the Byron Bay Backpackers – on 4287 sqm.

Also this year a Winchester Group consortium paid the Flannery family a speculated $10m for Bayshore Drive’s Sun Hotel.

In late 2019, Moelis Australia acquired the landmark, waterfront Byron Beach Hotel, for $100m from Impact Investment Group.

End of an era

The 1950s Great Northern Hotel, which has been operated by Tom Mooney for close to three decades, contains bars, restaurants, a band room, 20 accommodation suites and a drive through bottle shop.

Otherwise known as The Northern, this property, 35-43 Jonson St, will be co-owned by Mr Didier, founder of John Lyng Group, and Mr Emery – who established online lender MoneyMe (story continues below).

The adjacent Lanteen Lane Hotel – developed in 2009 between Lanteen Lane and Byron St, with 51 rooms – is being purchased by Mr Didier with his daughter, Casey, a local, who will also manage it.

Both offerings, already contemporary, will be updated.

“Scott and I are just so delighted to be the new custodians of The Northern and to have the privileged opportunity to engage with the local community in the next incarnation of this very special pub, in a very special place, and my family are so excited about the Lanteen Lane Hotel and what we can create there” Mr Emery said.

The businessmen retain nearby commercial real estate and the Beach Suites, Byron Bay, high-end accommodation venue.

Biggest pub deal this year

Mr McDonald said the Great Northern Hotel deal is the country’s priciest pub transaction this year.

“We believe that the Byron Bay story has a long way to run with the new owners set to take a measured view on improving the existing offering for the benefit of local residents and the circa four million visitors set to enjoy the pristine location each year,” according to the executive.

Mr Musca added “anyone who knows how captivating Byron Bay is and understands the challenging hotel licensing and approvals environment, will appreciate that the Northern is a truly irreplaceable business and real estate asset, driving competition that has delivered its generation sale”.

Fresh from selling Dunk Island last week, Mr Langsford said “Byron Bay has flourished as one of Australia’s eminent lifestyle tourism destinations, and like many other regional Australia leisure locations, it sits high on the priority list for accommodation investors both nationally and internationally”.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of