A waterfront hotel described as the “heart and soul of Byron Bay” has sold for a record $100 million to investment bankers Moelis.
The Beach Hotel Byron Bay is one of Australia’s most recognised watering holes and includes 25 boutique accom rooms within its 100 metres of frontage overlooking Byron’s Main Beach.
Developed in the northern NSW tourist town in the 1990s for just $9 million by Crocodile Dundee producer John ‘Strop’ Cornell, it’s sale price eclipses all previous records for Australian watering holes.
The property was sold by Impact Investment Group, which owned the freehold, and hoteliers John and Lisa van Haandel, who owned and ran the business side.
The 4585sqm Bay Street site boasts a swimming pool, large pub with extensive beer gardens, a restaurant, function spaces and a bottle shop – but no poker machines.
The pokies were removed last year and Moelis says it has no plans to reintroduce them after a survey of locals and visitors expressed support for preserving the unique atmosphere of the “Top Pub”.
Moelis Australia Hotel Management chief executive Dan Brady described the venue as an “iconic” establishment sitting on “irreplaceable” real estate.
“The acquisition of both freehold and operating interests will enable the required capital investment to further enhance what has made the hotel iconic,” he told The Australian, saying it would remain a fun, friendly and safe gathering place.
The oceanside pub was sold by Impact, a consortium backed by Melbourne’s Liberman family which bought both the freehold and the business side for $70 million in 2017. Its luxury accom rooms have recently been refurbished.
Once the sale is completed, management will be run by the Moelis Hotel group, which is also the overall manager of the Redcape Hotel group.
Dan Brady said Moelis intended to retain the majority of the existing management operations and venue staff and would consult with the community on its development. He said music “will remain an integral part of the pub”.
“The great thing about the pub is its openness and we plan to bring it up to community standards,” he said. “We will talk to the locals as we know we have a big responsibility in keeping with the Bryon vibe.”