In Property by Clyde Mooney

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Celebrated community publican Alistair Flower has further expanded a growing portfolio with the purchase of the Lake Cathie Tavern, near his Port Macquarie haven.

Current AHA National titleholder for Community Service & Achievement and winner again in 2018 at the AHA NSW Awards for Heart of the Community, former Redcape management and industry veteran Flower left Sydney-based positions for Port Macquarie with his purchase of the strike-laden Settlers Inn in 2013.

Having greatly built upon its trade and on its possibilities, in 2018 Flower quietly acquired the nearby Fernhill Tavern, just a few kilometres south.

HTL Property report Alistair and wife Renee have now entered the ranks of landlord with the freehold purchase of the Lake Cathie Tavern in Lake Cathie, around 20 minutes further south, for a price the agents say was “just shy of $3 million”.

Vendor to the off-market sale was the privately-owned Hastings District Finance Company.

The property is tenanted under lease for another 13 years, bringing a passive freehold return of 7.5 per cent in an area poised to see exceptional growth. With buyers being priced beyond Port Macquarie, new residents are flocking to Lake Cathie, expected to see more than 1,500 new lots developing on eight different housing estates.

The town reportedly projects growth of 150 per cent over the next ten years, comprising many young families and retirees.

The Lake Cathie Tavern occupies 2,750sqm beside a Woolworths-anchored shopping centre and a neighbourhood shopping mall, on the town’s main road, Lake Drive.

Noting the land-bank opportunity for the region and underlying value of 11 PMEs, HTL’s Xavier Plunkett, who transacted the sale, says it’s a change of role for Flower.

“Alistair and his team are acknowledged by many of his industry peers as well-regarded owner-operators, however they were quite happy becoming passive investors for this particular property. The financial metrics were consistent with their investment needs.”

Busy making hay where the sun shines, Flower says he’s a willing convert to the region and lifestyle.

“We see opportunity in coastal regional investments,” he responded.

“In Lake Cathie, as per other coastal regional areas, you see positive growth and very strong investment. We had the opportunity to purchase this passive investment – so we did.”

Lake Cathie Tavern