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Iconic ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ Hotel in Sydney sold by JLL

Purchased by Universal Hotels, owned & operated by the Kospetas family, who have substantial interests in Sydney's hotel scene & LGBTQIA+ venues

JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group has today officially announced the sale of the Imperial Hotel in Erskineville, on behalf of Sydney Collective’s Fraser Short and Australian Hotels Association NSW President Scott Leach.

Built in 1880, the iconic Imperial Hotel has been a favourite amongst locals and visitors alike for generations. Known by many as the birthplace of ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’, the Imperial Hotel has enjoyed a rich and colourful history with Short and Leach “rescuing” the hotel from closure in 2015. After extensive community consultation and a significant renovation, the hotel relaunched in March 2018 just in time for Sydney’s Mardi Gras festival.

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The purchaser has been identified as Universal Hotels – owned and operated by the Kospetas family, who have substantial interests in the Sydney hotel scene including (but not limited to) Newtown Hotel, Civic Hotel and Crown Hotel in Surry Hills, as well as other popular LGBTQIA+ venues, The Riley, Oxford Hotel, and Universal – all located on Sydney’s famed Oxford Street.

Universal Hotels CEO Harris Kospetas notes that, “The opportunity to transact on the Imperial was one in which we believed had great synergy with our group of venues. We have a strong connection with the LGBTQIA+ community and are very excited about the next chapter for the venue.”

Kospetas continued, “The acquisition fits our strategy of acquiring outstanding assets, where our operational and geographical synergies can unlock value. I would like to thank Fraser and Scott for their outstanding rebuild and subsequent stewardship of the venue.”

JLL Senior Vice President, Kate MacDonald who exclusively negotiated the sale on behalf of the vendors noted confidence in the future of the hotels’ operation.

“This is a natural addition to the Universal Hotels portfolio as they continue to invest in venues with strong and diverse income streams, many of which rely on entertainment as a key business driver.

“The Kospetas family and their incredibly capable team will provide the Erskineville community with the same good vibes as they have done all over Sydney for more than two decades.”

With the NSW state election in March contributing to fewer transactions thus far in 2023, the sale of the Imperial Hotel is the first of a spate of forthcoming announcements from JLL Hotels as astute investors seek to capitalise on buying opportunities that have been lacking over the last 24 months.

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