In Property by Clyde Mooney

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Campbell Rogers has grown his footprint of Central Coast pubs, purchasing the Gunyah Hotel from rugby league families the Hetheringtons and the Mullins’.

League legend brothers Brett and Jason Hetherington and family have owned the Gunyah in Lake Macquarie with Canberra Raiders’ star Brett Mullins and family for the past 15 years.

Gunyah Hotel

The families determined it was time to divest the property, which is just beginning to realise the uplift and depreciation benefits of a recent major renovation.

Campbell Rogers and wife Clare relocated to nearby Hamilton late 2014 with the purchase of the Sydney Junction Hotel (SJH), which they have lovingly optimised as owner-occupiers.

Their pub has seen plenty of work in both the venue and offering, going on in 2016 to win the AHA NSW Award for Best Casual Dining and be runner-up in Best Innovative Refurbishment.

With SJH on the rise the Rogers purchased the Argenton Hotel, on which they are now planning development in the first half of 2018.

The Gunyah makes a Lake Macquarie-Newcastle trilogy for the couple, who quickly recognised its suitability to their expansion plans, on a 2,398sqm block on the Pacific Highway, opposite Lake Macquarie Yacht Club.

“We’ve been up here three years now and call it home,” says Rogers. “When we saw Gunyah come on the market, we were pretty excited about it.”

The three pubs are each around 20 minutes’ drive from the other two, giving enough room to prevent rivalry, while bringing logistical advantages.

Avoiding the pitfalls of thinning resources with expansion, the going concern at the Gunyah needs little input from the new owners, and as the region thrives Rogers is pleased to be able to let it continue while he consolidates.

“We’ve got lot of ideas, but to be honest the current management has done such a great job. We’ll see out the rest of this year, which should be a busy time.

“It’s a completely different market to the other two venues, so we’re definitely not rushing in to anything. We want to make sure what we want to do is heading down the right path; get to know the community and the staff a bit better, and look to make some changes if we have to next year.

“Newcastle as a whole, we’ve noticed in the last few years a lot of money is coming in. A lot of government money coming into the area, which always points to good things.”

CBRE Hotels’ Ben McDonald and Daniel Dragicevich, who brokered the sale in conjunction with Moore and Moore Principal Deane Moore, echo the region’s potential, citing the “heightened demand and increase depth in buyer pool” enquiring on comparable sales in the past year.

Overseeing campaigns for the Ivory Tavern, taking Sydney hotelier Brendan Lawless to the NSW north coast, Wyong’s Royal Hotel, seeing former Lion director Frank Arangio become a publican, and a “growing local operator” into Laundy’s Bateau Bay Hotel, CBRE national director Dragicevich says there is room for more transactions in the coastal market for buyers considering geographical expansion.

“CBRE’s view has gathered steam in the market, and we see a strong book of transactions in this specific market segment running into the end of the year.”