GOT A SPARE $15 MILLION?

By BREE PRICE

CONTROVERSIAL developer Chris Condon is selling the Lennox Point Hotel, hoping to fetch $15 million at auction.

The Lennox Head resident has been behind high-profile developments such as the Tinkerbell shopping centre project and the Ramada Hotel at Ballina.

But even though he's selling the pub, Mr Condon is staying on the Northern Rivers and hanging on to all his other interests.

He said the sale of the pub, which he has owned since 1997 with his partner Wayne Judd, an ex-accountant from Coffs Harbour, was motivated by family reasons.

"I have a young family with children who have disability issues, and hotels and their administration are very labour intensive," he said.

"I'm looking to reinvest into more passive streams where you don't have to put as much work into them."

Mr Condon said the pub would be auctioned by hotel brokering company John Parsons Hotels in Sydney on July 7.

The sale would include the land, building, liquor licence, 17 poker machines and a development approval to build 10 motel units atop the northern end of the site.

However, he said the adjacent Lennox Point Holiday Apartments development was excluded from the sale.

Broker Greg Haines said he expected the pub to sell for about $15 million, following high levels of interest in the property, even though it has not yet been advertised.

Other commercial property watchers who spoke to The Northern Star yesterday said the sale would easily surpass $10 million, but they were unsure about higher amounts.

"There has been very strong interest from large public companies and we haven't even sent out auction brochures," Mr Haines said.

"From any company's perspective, a hotel is a healthy investment.

"They get a fairly good return on their investment and the ability to operate poker machines.

"Two offers have already come in up towards $15 million. I expect it to sell under the hammer."

Mr Condon said the hotel market was at its peak.

"It's a fairly hot market for hotels currently, which has seen public companies like Coles and Woolworths entering the acquisition of hotels," he said.

"I'd prefer to see an owneroperator. It adds to the personality of the establishment."

Mr Condon said he was confident whoever bought the pub would not knock it down to develop the land residentially.

"The hotel will stay there. It is classed as one of five iconic hotels on the eastern seaboard of NSW," he said.

"The commercial success of it will ensure it will be there for many years to come."



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