NRL scores another hotel

The four floor Mercure, opened in 2015, part of a Stockland development.

The Australian Rugby League Commission has bought its third hotel in 18 months – this time on the Sunshine Coast.

The Birtinya hotel includes a restaurant, conference facilities and car parking.

The Mercure Kawana Waters, with 81 suites over four floors, is setting the group back a speculated $20 million – making it the region’s priciest deal for an asset of this type since 2019.

It isn’t the most expensive hospitality investment the association has picked up though – that remains the 5-star Gambaro Hotel in Brisbane’s Petrie Terrace, which cost c$25 in July, 2022.

Four months ago meanwhile, the ARLC acquired a Quest under construction in Sydney’s Woolooware – again outlaying c$20m, according to sources.

Following a deal with the Rugby League Players’ Association, the group has another c$235m to spend on hotel investments – designed to future proof the game – with the flexibility for the NRL to part occupy.

Mercure Kawana Waters at 9 Florey Boulevard, Birtinya, is about 13 kilometres south of Maroochydore.

Mercure Kawana Waters

Accor offered the nine year old Mercure Kanawa Waters – part of a master-planned Stockland development – with a leaseback; average occupancy is c84 per cent.

Following settlement, Accor will operate the hotel under a franchise agreement with the ARLC.

The Mercure brand will stay.

As well as guest rooms, the venue contains a restaurant, bar, conference facilities and car parking (story continues below).

Petrie Terrace’s 5-star Gambaro Hotel cost the ARLC c$25 million in 2022.

JLL marketing agents Gareth Closter said nine offers came in following an expressions of interest campaign launched in September.

Artist’s impression of the completed Quest Woolooware.

The ARLC outbid local, interstate and international groups, he added.

“This sale further demonstrates the institutionalisation of the mid-market hotel sector with a variety of sophisticated buyers actively seeking such opportunities to add to their existing holdings,” according to the executive.

“This asset class has historically had fragmented ownership dominated by private investors, however we have seen considerable amalgamation in recent times,” he said.

Chasing stadiums

The waterfront Mercure is the closest hotel to the Sunshine Coast Stadium, set to become an indoor sports centre, also to be used by the Redcliffe Dolphins, ahead of the 2032 Olympics.

The ARLC chose proximity to stadiums when it also bought the Gambaro (300 metres from Suncorp Stadium) and Quest (neighbouring the Cronulla Sharks’ home ground, Sharks Park, also known as PointsBet Stadium).

“We look forward to this new chapter in our partnership with the NRL and are excited about the opportunities it will bring,” Accor Pacific chief executive officer, Sarah Derry, said of the Sunshine Coast asset.

“Together, we can further enhance the connection between sport and our community, making a positive impact on both the tourism and sporting sectors,” she added.

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Marc Pallisco

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