Hawks, Feldman bank record $85m for hotel

The Caroline Springs asset includes a bistro and Mercure hotel with pool and conference facilities.

Bill and Mario Gravanis are paying $85 million for Caroline Springs’ WestWaters Hotel & Entertainment Complex.

The lakeside asset is being acquired in two parts – the freehold from an entity, Sokol, led by private investor David Feldman, which paid developer and cattle farmer George Adams $17.95m in 2015.

Melbourne Football Club sold the Bentleigh Club (outlined) last year.

The leasehold was offered by the Hawthorn Football Club, which has occupied 10-20 Lake Street since new 12 years ago; it is speculated to be trading for $25-$30m.

JLL Hotels & Hospitality’s Will Connolly and John Musca structured the entire sale.

The property will be owned and operated by the Gravanis brothers’ Oscars Hotels.

The sale comes eight months since the Melbourne Football Club sold the Bentleigh Club to Metro Developments for $23.7m.

WestWaters Hotel & Entertainment Complex

On 6997 square metres, WestWaters derives significant income from a sports bar with TAB facilities and 90 electronic gambling machines.

There is also a multi-level, 98 room guesthouse, operating as a Mercure, with conference and wedding facilities, an indoor heated pool, spa and sauna.

There is a public bistro too, off a large car park.

The property is opposite the CS Square shopping centre which Colin Delutis, a former Carlton Football Club vice president, acquired from Lendlease for $136.5m last year.

“Within the past six months alone, we have witnessed over $180m of NSW based capital investing in the Victorian industry, across three of the most significant hotel transactions to ever occur in this state,” Mr Connolly said (story continues below).

David Feldman recently sold Bendigo’s All Seasons to the group he acquired it from four years earlier.

Mr Musca added “we are representing a significant weight of capital moving from NSW to Victoria and similarly South Australia, as a natural geographical expansion for operators requiring a national footprint as a response to the supply challenges in an ever-tightening NSW hotel market”.

Oscars Hotels has been one of the most active buyers since the COVID pandemic, recently snaring assets at Brisbane, Caves Beach and Tamworth.

Last week, we reported the group was making a $52m play for Casino Canberra.

Second time lucky for David Feldman

The WestWaters deal is Victoria’s priciest for a pub, according to JLL, smashing the $54.5m record set last July with Bendigo’s All Seasons Resort Hotel.

Coincidentally, Mr Feldman was also that vendor (the buyer was Sydney-based Redcape which sold the asset to Mr Feldman for $24m in 2017).

Both properties have significant accommodation attached.

Hawthorn Football Club president Jeff Kennett, who has actively been trying to diversify the club’s income, said the disposal can set it up for decades.

Following the sale, the Hawks still retain the leasehold for the Vegas Club at Mulgrave’s Waverley Gardens shopping centre, with 75 EGMs.

A hospitality project is expected to be built into a $130m training base, set to start construction this year on a Dingley Green Wedge zoned site.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of realestatesource.com.au.