In Property by Clyde Mooney

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Steve Hunt has furthered his pub fund portfolio with the acquisition of the thriving Duke of Wellington in outer Newcastle for around $8.5 million.

The Hunt family’s Hunt Hospitality operates a number of successful Newcastle region pubs, such as the CBD and Kent Hotels. Patriarch Steve Hunt has leveraged his operation with part ownership and management in a growing pub fund that last year acquired the Rutherford Hotel, and now the Duke of Wellington.

Hunt has cited big plans for his collection of venues in the area, and believes the Lambton pub will work well in the group.

Steven Hunt

Steven Hunt

“We are delighted to add the Duke of Wellington to our growing portfolio of Hunter region pubs,” Steve Hunt told PubTIC. “It’s a great hotel, with a strong food and beverage offering and very well established management team.”

The pub was built in 1876, and named after the famous commander of the English and Allied army at the 1815 Battle of Waterloo against Napoleon Bonaparte. It has long been a cornerstone of the local mining community, self-described as the place “You’re amongst friends you’re yet to meet!”.

Sale of the Duke was conducted off-market by CBRE and Knight Frank on behalf of a private consortium of owners.

CBRE national director – pubs, Daniel Dragicevich, says the record low interest rates are making the successful syndicate-operator model even more attractive to investors.

“We have seen the emergence in recent times of long-term hoteliers setting up their own boutique pub funds in order acquire quality assets, whilst retaining some equity in the venture as well as the management responsibility.

“Peak Investments and Bondi AM in Sydney are two prime examples, and with Hunt Hospitality its evident the model also works well in strong regional towns.”

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