Peter Garrett Defers Decision to Ban Uluru Rock Climbing

Peter GarrettUluruTOURISM operators in Alice Springs have been delivered good news, after Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett deferred a decision which would have banned people from climbing Uluru, which used to be called Ayers Rock.

It’s claimed the speculated 100,000 climbers per month were littering and defecating on the rock, during the climb, which also risks eroding the 348-metre rock.

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Halikos Group Buys Darwin’s Novotel Atrium Hotel For $24 Million

DARWIN’s Novotel Atrium Hotel, at 100 The Esplanade on Darwin Harbour, has sold to private investors the Halikos Group for $24 million.

The 140-room, 4.5 star hotel was offloaded by Tourism Property Investment Group, and was sold with a 17-year management agreement to Accor, according to selling agents Colliers International.

Halikos Group managing director Shane Dignan said the purchase was “in line with a strategy to refresh the group’s property portfolio and seek prudent investments in the Northern Territory.”

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Occupancy Levels Dip Across Most Australian States: ABS

NATURAL disasters in key markets, a strong $A encouraging Australians to travel overseas, and prospective visitors seeking cheaper destinations, have contributed to a slowdown in the country’s tourist accommodation sector.

According to new research issued by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, occupancy in the hotel, motel and serviced apartment sector has dropped in many states, with the lowest rate (51.8 per cent) reported in the Northern Territory.

Tasmania performed best with an occupancy rate of 72.5 per cent in the March quarter. It was followed by the ACT (70.4 per cent) and NSW (67.8 per cent).

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Big Pineapple Site Relisted For Sale

PLANS have fallen through to sell the Big Pineapple site on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

The 170 hectare site has been relisted for sale on behalf of receivers PPB. It’s being marketed by Ray White Special Projects.

It had been reported the site would be redeveloped into a car museum – but the advocates of this plan failed to complete a contract, according to the AFR which reported the relisting.

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Surge For Australian Hotel Investments in 2010

INVESTOR demand for Australian hotels surged last year.

Hotel transactions surged 62.3 per cent last year, totalling $1.3 billion, according to JLL Hotels.

Demand for hotel investments was boosted by a strong business travel market which have pushed up room rates and occupancy levels in major capital city markets.

The Ayers Rock Resort was last year’s biggest hotel transaction, selling for $300 million.

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Yarra Glen Farm on Green Wedge Zoned Land Set to Become Chocolaterie Tourist Attraction

A YARRA Glen farm on  land zoned Green Wedge will be converted into “the number one rural tourism attraction in Australia” after the Yarra Ranges Shire Council unanimously approved a $31 million chocolate centre at a prominent corner site.

The major development will be developed on a 15.5 hectare farm on the north-east corner of Old Healesville Road and Melba Highway, about 2.7 kilometres east of the Yarra Glen township and near the Alowyn Gardens.

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Budget Holiday Makers Drive Demand for Caravan Park Accommodation

BUDGET holiday makers are driving a surge in occupancy for humble caravan park accommodation – and many are staying for longer than they have in the past.

A change in the facilities offered by some caravan parks – including pools, playgrounds and tennis courts – has also contributed to the newfound buoyancy.

But so too has a lack of supply – caused by some caravan parks selling to developers, who exploit their often spectacular locations with apartments and commercial facilities.

Australian Bureau of Statistics tourism data showed occupancy levels in Queensland’s caravan parks increased substantially in the year to September 2009, the most recent figures available.

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Dunk Island, Bedarra Island, Sold to Canadian Humanitarian Group

Dunk IslandQUEENSLAND’s Dunk Island, and the smaller Bedarra Island nearby, have been sold to humanitarian group McCall MacBain Foundation for an undisclosed sum.

The two islands were offloaded by Voyages, which has been trying to sell down its portfolio of tourist accommodation assets for about a year.

McCall MacBain Foundation affiliate Pamoja Capital has purchased the islands.

Pamoja – which means “togetherness” in Swahili, undertakes socially responsible global investments within a number of sectors including education, renewable energy and natural resources, life sciences, information technology, real estate and media and communications.

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Phillip Island’s Isle of Wight Pub Site Listed For Sale

SIXTEEN months after it was destroyed by fire – which was a month after it was permitted for demolition – the waterfront site where Phillip Island’s popular Isle of Wight hotel once stood is for sale.

The prominent and elevated property – which stares down the Cowes Jetty – measures 9197 square metres and runs behind many shops on the western side of Thompson Avenue, which is the sleepy hamlet’s main retail strip.

The Bass Coast council controversially approved the historic pub (pictured, above) be demolished in April 2010, despite it being recognised as one of South Gippsland’s most significant landmarks. The site is for sale with a permit for a nine-level resort and retail development with hotel rooms and apartments.

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Receivers For Ryan Hotel Group List Queensland Pubs For Sale

RECEIVER McGrath Nichol will sell two Queensland pubs, on behalf of the Ryan Hotel Group.

Up for grabs is the Del Plaza at Southport, and the Grinning Dog Tavern at Maroochydore. Earlier this year, six other Ryan Hotel Group hotels were put to the market including the Woombye, Maryborough and Roma. Ryan collapsed in July. The properties are distressed sales, and the prices are undisclosed.

Director of advisory firm and agency Power Jeffrey, Peter Power, told The Australian “there haven’t been many good quality hotels on the market for the past 18 months, and as valuers we are having great difficulty because we have no (sale result) evidence to work off”.

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GPT sells more resorts

THE GPT Group is continuing to offload its major hospitality assets, with resorts in Western Australia’s Kimberley region and the Northern Territory confirmed as sold.

United States based Delaware North has purchased GPT’s Great Barrier Reef resorts on Lizard Island, Heron Island and Wilson Island, as well as the Kings Canyon Resort in the Northern Territory and the El Questro Wilderness Park in Western Australia. Melbourne-based businessman Paul Van Min has snapped up the Silky Oaks Lodge in Queensland’s Daintree Forest.

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GPT Sells Four Points by Sheraton For $185 Million

AN as yet undisclosed south-east Asian investor has paid $185 million for GPT’s unrenovated ‘Four Points by Sheraton’ hotel, in Sydney.

The hotel sold at a 10 per cent discount to its June 2009 valuation of $206 million. In December last year it was valued at $236 million.

Based on the asset’s current annual rent, the hotel sold on a yield of 8.8 per cent.

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Australand Sells Crest Hotel, Kings Cross, For $72 Million

PROPERTY giant Australand has offloaded the Crest Hotel, in Kings Cross, Sydney, for $72 million.

Property developer Michael Sanchez is reported to have purchased the 227-room hotel, with plans to convert the old building into luxury apartments.

Australand paid Coogee Bay Hotel owner Chris Cheung $63 million for the hotel two years ago. The hotel has been unused since June, when the Constellation Group vacated.

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$200 Million Resort Planned For NSW Central Coast Town of Morisset

PLANS for a $200 million resore in the NSW Central Coast town of Morisset, have been approved by the state planning department.

The Trinity Point Marina Resort will include 150 apartments, some of which will be hotel rooms, conference and function facilities, a 180 berth marina and 550 square metres of office space.

Construction of the resort is expected to start next year, or six years after the property was gazetted a tourist site.

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Palms Motel Footscray Sells For $3.2 Million

THE Footscray motel which was until recently to have become Melbourne’s next commission flat complex, has sold to an investor for $3.2 million, and is expected to be re-opened as a hospitality business.

On a 2985 square metre block at the corner of Geelong Road and Catherine Street, the former Palms Motel is near Victoria University, central Footscray and the Maribyrnong River.

The Department of Human Services which is increasingly leasing hotel and motel rooms and facilities to satisfy its growing public housing waiting list, had co-ordinated a lease for the Palms Hotel.

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Mulpha to Reap $120 Million From Melbourne Airport Hilton Hotel

MALAYSIA-based Mulpha Australia has listed its Melbourne Airport Hilton Hotel.

The 276-room low rise motel, opposite Melbourne Airport’s main terminal, is expected to sell for about $120 million as an investment. Mulpha purchased the hotel in 2004, as part of a portfolio offered by Principal Hotel Group.

The hotel includes 16 conference rooms, a gym, restaurant and swimming pool.

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Luxury Wilsons Promontory Country Club Listed For Sale

A LUXURIOUS homestead near Wilsons Promontory – occupied by Crown-Prince Frederik of Denmark during the Olympic Games and immediately after he met his wife-to-be, Mary – has hit the market.

The Waratah Park Country House has been fitted out as a high end, six-bedroom country club and is asking $1.65 million.

An adjoining parcel of land with a 54-lot residential subdivision is for sale asking $1.5 million.

John H Castran director John Castran is the marketing agent.

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Mirvac Sebel Deep Blue Resort, Warrnambool, For Sale

WARRNAMBOOL based developer Graeme Schultz can expect to make about $12 million from the sale of a 75-room resort on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road.

The Sebel Deep Blue resort at Warrnambool, about 270 kilometres west of the CBD, will be sold with a lease to Mirvac Hotels.

The 4.5 star resort includes a restaurant, bath house, therapy pool, swimming pool, private bathing rooms and function rooms catering for up to 300 people.

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Les Erdi Buys West Melbourne Development Site

Proposal: 33 - 43 Batman Street, West MelbourneTHE inner-city’s next major hotel looks likely to be developed at a West Melbourne site near the suburb border of the CBD, and Docklands.

Businessman and philanthropist Les Erdi is believed to have paid about $8 million for a 1526 square metre development site at 33 – 43 Batman Street.

The site currently includes a single-level factory known as the WD O’Donnell building, and was put to the market in March with a permit for a 14-level, 136 unit complex.

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Minister Justin Madden Approves Controversial Development in Clayton

Justin MaddenAFTER a decade of debate, the Minister for Planning Justin Madden has gone against the local council and approved a major development, at a prominent junction in Melbourne’s south-east suburb of Clayton.

The decision paves the way for a low-rise shopping centre on the north-east corner of Dandenong and Blackburn roads to be demolished, and replaced with towers incorporating about 400 apartments, a hotel, a new shopping centre, and landscaped gardens.

About 10 per cent of units in the project will be set aside for affordable housing. Most of the remaining units will be targeted to students. Sources speculate the project will have an end value of about $270 million.

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Southern Cross Broadcasting’s Outgoing South Melbourne Office to Become Hotel and Apartment Complex

FOUR months since selling to developers, the new owners of South Melbourne’s 41 – 49 Bank Street office – and long time home of Fairfax Media’s Southern Cross Broadcasting – have lodged plans to build a hotel and apartment complex on the site.
A spokeswoman for the Port Phillip Council said it is reviewing an application to demolish the existing building and construct a 16-level complex, which would include 126 apartments, 88 hotel suites, and a ground floor restaurant.

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Lasseters International Close to Buying Holiday Inn, Melbourne, For $44 Million

MELBOURNE’s Holiday Inn Hotel in Flinders Street is believed to be close to sale to Singapore’s listed Lasseters International Holdings.

Lasseters is understood to be paying about $44 million fo the 4.5 star, 200-room hotel, which is being offloaded by Eureka Funds Management.

Eureka purchased the Holiday Inn, and eight other hotels as part of the $390 million purchase of the InterContinental Hotel Groups portfolio in 2005.

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Ava Gardner & Frank Sinatra’s South Yarra Hideaway Listed For Sale

Ava Gardner & Frank SinatraTHE South Yarra motel at the centre of a saucy scandal involving Hollywood actress Ava Gardner, and crooner Frank Sinatra 50 years ago, is for sale.
Rooms within the St James Motel, at 35 Darling Street, accommodated Ms Gardner and a production crew during the 1959 filming of “On the Beach”, parts of which were shot in Berwick.
It was reported Frank Sinatra would often visit Ms Gardner during filming, despite the fact the couple divorced two years earlier.  Sinatra left his wife and three kids in 1951, to marry Gardner – who had already been married twice before. 

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