Bidding battle for Lennox pub
By JANE GARDNER
FOUR mysterious high-profile bidders were locked in a battle for the Lennox Point Hotel yesterday as the iconic building went under the hammer in Sydney.
Auctioned by Orange hotel brokering company John Parsons Hotels, the bidding began at $12.75 million.
The bidding then lingered at around the $13.5 million mark last night ? considerably less than the $15 million reserve price originally attached to the pub by developer Chris Condon.
Manager of John Parsons Hotels, Greg Haines, refused to divulge the identity of the secret bidders, but said the auction attracted some very prominent Sydney high-rollers.
"It was really amazing who was there," Mr Haines said.
"I can't say who they were, but I can tell you they were very well-known identities in the hotel business."
Mr Haines also said the amount of interest in the pub had been phenomenal.
"I've been on the phone all day to people who were at the auction, but just want to know what the outcome was," he said.
"There's still a chance that someone might come out of woodwork in the next few days and put up the $15 million for it."
Mr Condon bought the pub in 1997 with business partner Wayne Judd, an ex-accountant from Coffs Harbour, and made the decision to sell at the beginning of June.
He said he wanted to free up more time to spend with his family and will focus on less time-consuming investments.
The new owner will inherit the land, building, liquor licence, 17 poker machines and a development approval to build 10 motel units atop the northern end of the site.
Although the sale of the pub was seen in a positive light by many, the town is divided on whether the pub should change.
Some of the pub's regulars believe it's perfect as it is, while others would like to see a total refurbishment.
A settlement is expected in the next few days.