In Redevelopment by Clyde Mooney

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Lewis Hotel Group has landed approval to take The Fiddler to another level, with plans for a four-storey 78-room accommodation wing to the big Hills district pub.

The large-format The Fiddler at the intersection of Commercial and Windsor Roads Rouse Hill has been a cornerstone of the Hills precinct for generations, the premise first established in 1826.

Lewis Land Port Macquarie development Sovereign Hills

Around a decade ago, the multi-faceted Lewis Group began consideration for an accommodation development on the site. Lewis Land, the company’s building arm, is currently constructing Port Macquarie’s largest master planned community, Sovereign Hills.

Incorporating divisions in retail and shopping centres, hospitality, and construction, the Group holds the necessary skillset for the leveraged project.

Several years ago, modifications began to develop on the site, as part of strategy to continually evolve the business.

Now building upon a very successful and established food & beverage operation, plans were approved by The Hills Shire Council last week for the new construction, set to begin early 2018 and likely to take nine months to a year to complete.

The new building will comprise 67 standard, seven family-size and four disability-accessible rooms, of 4.5-star. Discussions are almost finalised for a name brand franchise to operate the accommodation.

The Fiddler itself is slated to get nearly 150sqm of new function space, and a swimming pool for hotel guests.

While several accommodation hotels have opened in the region in the past couple of years, Norwest Business Park continues to thrive and grow, adding demand for corporate accommodation on top of the growing local population and infrastructure.

“It was always something we would look at,” explained Lewis Hotel Group’s head of operations, Brad Jenkins. “There seems to be good demand in the area.”

In line with the strong growth gripping Sydney’s west and north-west, the Hills will soon see completion of the Sydney Metro Northwest rail line, bringing a train station to Rouse Hill.

The Fiddler already caters to around 40 weddings each year, and the improved access to transport will only increase its appeal for the types of functions inviting overnight visitors. The rooms will complete its ‘eat, play, stay’ solution.

“We’re just excited, and busting to get into it, to be honest,” says Jenkins. “We’ve done a lot of feasibility on this over the years, but we’re very comfortable with the timing of it now.

“The new rail line is opening up at Rouse Hill, there’s a lot of good things happening in that area and now the pub’s in a good spot in itself just as a pub operation, it’s doing exceptional at the moment. Our general manager Sara Belling is absolutely fantastic.

Just a month ago the Group opened its new wood-fired Al’s Pizza offering at The Fiddler, complementing the existing menu. It is now fitting one at its Belvedere Hotel, at Woody Point, in Queensland, with plans for a third at Camden Valley Inn.

Jenkins says the ‘always improving’ mindset is about keeping it fresh.

“It’s about the mix in goods … giving people different reasons to come to the pub.”

The Fiddler approved development plans