In Property by Clyde Mooney

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The Murphy family has parted with Maitland’s thriving Belmore Hotel, with a local businessman picking up the freehold going concern for $9 million.

The Murphys have owned the Belmore since 2003, and citing increasing interests in other endeavours made the reluctant decision to list the pub, which boasts several bars, a successful foodservice operation, large beer garden, 18 accommodation rooms and gaming room with 19 EGMs.

“We still have development interests in the area, which we will now shift our focus onto,” says Luke Murphy. “It was not an easy decision to sell as we have made many community ties and friendships out of the pub and the Maitland community has been a big supporter of ours. On behalf of my family I would like to wish the incoming purchaser all the best.”

While it has recently undergone a comprehensive $2.5m makeover to modernise and enhance its historic attributes, the site still holds an approved DA for a new gaming room for 30 machines, with full smoking solution.

The diverse revenue streams generate almost $100k weekly (FY16) and the Hotel is ranked #444 on the Liquor & Gaming list of NSW venues, with considerable upside potential still to be realised from the recent and future renovations.

Electrical engineer Geoff Sweeney spent a number of his teenage years in and around his parents’ pub in Morpeth, a suburb of Maitland. Four decades later he runs his highly successful electrical manufacturing business Nepean Power, employing a hundred people in Thornton, around 12 kilometres east of Maitland.

Looking to invest in a strong ongoing operation, Sweeney says he will be retaining management and hopes to continue current successes before exploring the upsides in hand.

“I think we will be looking to do something within the first 12-18 months, but initially it will be a little bit more understanding of the place,” he told PubTIC.

Part of the Hunter Valley Tourism Precinct, Maitland was reported in the 2011 Census as NSW’s fastest growing inland Urban Centre.

Council is steering a massive project known as The Levee, aiming to leverage the region’s growth trajectory in both residents and visitors.

Belmore Hotel

“They’re opening up Maitland to access the river and try and get more of a hospitality feel along the river, with restaurants and cafés,” explains Sweeney. “We’re right on the edge of that, which is great, and the more people it brings in to town the better for us.”

The Belmore was marketed for the Murphys by Ray White Hotels’ Blake Edwards, Andrew Jolliffe and Xavier Plunkett, who offer that the asset “made sense” for the hotel newcomer, and expect the increased interest in strong regional assets from within and outside the industry to continue.

“Although it may sound clichéd, it all comes back to the basic investment fundamentals, including strong population growth, a familiarity with the local area, close proximity to a large base of both white- and blue-collar industries, and a distinct absence of large scale competition in the immediate area,” offers Edwards.

The sale continues the strong run of NSW coastal transactions, with Campbell Rogers purchasing the Gunyah, Mark Duggan and Gary O’Donnell buying the North Nowra Tavern, and Arthur Laundy selling the Bateau Bay Hotel in just the last two weeks.