IHG Hotels & Resorts vice president Abhijay Sandilya this month joined developers to turn the first sod at hospitality projects east and west of Port Phillip Bay’s ‘The Heads’ (or The Rip).
The guesthouses – at Geelong and Sorrento – form part of their respective region’s biggest mixed-use ventures.
Both will have north facing water views – unique in Victoria.
Each is due for completion in the next 18 months.
The townships are between a 70-90 minute drive, either side of Melbourne.
They are connected too, via the Queenscliff-Sorrento ferry.
The biggest guesthouse IHG will operate – a Holiday Inn & Suites – forms part of Franze Developments’ Geelong Quarter.
With 180-rooms, it covers ground to level 10 of a mixed-use building known as West Tower.
Above the hotel sits the Ryrie Residences – 16 luxury, super-sized apartments priced between $1-$2.5 million.
Occupants there will have access to Holiday Inn and Suites amenity including the pool, gym room service, housekeeping and a business centre.
West Tower will rise over ground level retail connecting it to a second complex: East Tower, or Ryrie Home.
That residential building consists of 109 apartments targeted toward first home buyers, downsizers and owner-occupiers.
Franze director Paul Franze said the combination of low interest rates, government incentives – and the work-from-home trend (including people spending only part of their week at an office) – has all fared favourably for Ryrie Home “which was announced Urban’s most popular off-the-plan project for Q1, 2021”.
“An unbeatable location in Australia’s fastest growing regional city – just over an hour from Melbourne – helps,” the developer added.
The gateway Geelong Quarter site, formerly the Trans Otway Bus Terminal, connects the train station, arts precinct and pier, at the western edge of the CBD.
At the sod-turning event, Mr Franze said builders would soon be shovelling concrete as opposed to soil (story continues below).
The apartments, like the hotel, are due for completion by late 2022, he added.
“We aim to create a new city-centre destination, both for the in-excess of five million visitors that come to Geelong annually, but also the rising number of residents and workers,” the developer said.
With an end value of c$200m, Geelong Quarter is the region’s biggest mixed-use project.
Winery and golf course owner Lindsay Sharp, of Sharp Group, said the Bellarine Peninsula is losing millions of dollars in lost opportunity because of a lack of tourist accommodation.
“It’s heartbreaking to have limited answers when people ask ‘where do I stay?”
Having additional stock, she added, will allow people to “stay longer, potter, explore, engage, brunch, commit to people and experience what we have to offer.
“These people run out of time or can’t get here in the first place because of being hamstrung by our accommodation options,” according to the executive.
InterContinental at the Continental
Meanwhile in Sorrento, executives from Trenerry Group, Victor Smorgon Group and The Kanat Group, kicked off construction of the Continental Hotel redevelopment.
That c$100m project won’t include residential.
IHG will operate a 106-room guesthouse, there.
Pent up local demand
Mr Sandilya said provided lawmakers keep interstate borders open, the hospitality sector can fire again soon.
“The pandemic has created pent-up demand from Australians wanting to travel within Australia,” according to the executive.
“In many ways we are at the tip of the iceberg,” he added, of the economic backdrop in his sector.
“We’re looking forward to being back able to change city skylines”.