Ghassan Aboud has purchased his first Brisbane guesthouse – the new Fantauzzo Art Series Hotel, beneath and beside the Story Bridge – in a c$75 million deal with Deague Group.
The acquisition comes a year after the billionaire and philanthropist paid retailer Gerry Harvey $41.7m for the Byron on Byron resort covering 18 hectares just out of Byron Bay.
Following handover of the latest asset by mid-next year, the Brussels-based Syrian’s Cyrstalbrook Collections will own three inns at each of Queensland and New South Wales.
Deague is a Melbourne-headquartered, multi-generation, diversified developer and investor.
It was represented by CBRE Hotels’ Wayne Bunz.
Fantauzzo Brisbane Art Series Hotel at 5 Boundary Street
The 166-suite waterfront Fantauzzo overlooks Howard Smith Wharves.
Part occupied by Italian restaurant Polpetta and Fiume bar, it is designed with a fitness centre, meeting spaces and rooftop pool.
Up to 300 works by photo-realist painter Vincent Fantauzzo are on display (story continues below).
At 5 Boundary Street, the hotel is recording strong weekend occupancy since opening last March, according to Mr Bunz.
The sale is the first worth more than $20m within the sector to take place in full light of the COVID-19 backdrop “signalling that investors anticipate a recovery in the hotel sector”, he added.
Smaller guesthouses to recently trade include Byron Bay’s Bower, for $18m, and East Melbourne unrenovated Magnolia Court ($9m).
Crystalbrook’s Australian hospitality portfolio includes assets in Cairns, Newcastle, Port Douglas and Sydney.
The Brisbane property will next year be rebranded to an as-yet-unknown name.
Deague’s Art Series Hotels (ACCOR) will manage it until then.
“We are pleased to have sold this truly five-star property to a group which that celebrate the architecture and vibrant precinct of Howard Smith Wharves,” the vendor’s chief executive officer Will Deague said.
“The hotel journey was always a property development play for our group, hence our decision to sell”.