Covent Garden Hotel leasehold changes hands in off-market deal

By Rebecca Holland

The leasehold interest in the Covent Garden Hotel has been sold off market by Ray White Hotels.

Opened in 1911 by Tooths & Co and owned by the Luey family since the 1970s, the three-storey hotel is considered a hospitality icon and stands in a prime corner position at the gateway of Chinatown.

Ray White’s Asia Pacific Director of Hotels Andrew Jolliffe says the change of hands signifies the enduring nature of Sydney’s entertainment precincts.

“Our client, the Luey family, have very successfully occupied the Covent Garden Hotel for decades, and accordingly sought from us a transaction which identified a suitable party via which to continue the strong business operation known to thousands of local and international patrons,” he says.

“Many a visitor to Sydney’s vibrant Chinatown district, whether seeing an international performance or attending Paddy’s Markets, has walked through the doors of this proud institution.

“Importantly, the transaction we’ve coordinated means the legacy created by the Luey family is in very safe hands for another generation, and will be preserved under the guidance of one of Sydney’s most well-known and highly credentialed hospitality families.”

Confirming the sale, a spokesman for the Luey family said the family was extremely proud of the hotel’s history and excited about the business’ future under the guidance of the new operator.

With recent sales of numerous hotel operations including the Vic on the Park and Collaroy hotels to Merivale impresario Justin Hemmes, as well as Newtown’s iconic Marlborough Hotel to Solotel’s Bruce Solomon, Mr Jolliffe believes the hotel asset class remains well positioned.

“We’ve been fortunate to manage the sale of a number of high-profile hospitality operations, and this has afforded us great transparency in terms of the patent health of the hotel investment landscape along the Australian east coast,” says Mr Jolliffe, who previously sold 32 leasehold hotels in one line to Woolworths pub arm ALH.

“Unmistakably, the asset class remains particularly strong and strengthening, with key fundamentals all scripting earnings growth indexed to strong cash flows and meaningful barriers to competitive entry — the latter one of the few positives of the comparatively heavy regulatory landscape upon which our industry exists.”

Mr Jolliffe did not disclose the price or terms for the Covent Garden Hotel transaction but confirmed the purchaser was a very experienced multi-hotel operating group from Sydney.

“We are particularly grateful for the opportunity to have acted on behalf of a family with such prominent Chinatown heritage and, given its pedigree, we wholly expect the purchaser to both amplify and enhance the already impressive hospitality journey the Covent Garden Hotel has charted.”

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