IRIS GROUP SELLS TO CHINA’S BIGGEST DEVELOPER FOR $170m

In Property by Clyde Mooney

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Only months after announcing plans for massive redevelopment, Iris Group has divested the Kings Cross Mercure complex.

Mercure_artists impression

An artist’s impression of the proposed Mercure tower. Image: supplied

Earlier this year Iris lodged plans with the City of Sydney for an overhaul of the 19-storey Kings Cross tower it bought in 2012 for $65 million, into a mecca of luxury apartments worth $300 million.

But before work even began Iris has sold the Mercure – which includes retail tenancies, but not top gaming pub the Crest Hotel and strip stalwart cocktail bar Goldfish – to China’s largest developer, Greenland Group.

The deal is believed to be worth circa $170 million and came about as a direct result of big-money – particularly from the likes of China – forcing itself upon these kinds of opportunities.

The package was brokered by Colliers International, and was a case of a determined client with specific goals fronting with a very enticing deal for the fast-growing and highly extended Iris Group.

Colliers’ Miron Solomons told PubTIC there are details to be finalised, including the ongoing operations at the licensed venues, with which Sam Arnaout’s Iris Group may stay involved.

“Sam is a long-term client, and he remains very committed to his hotel operations,” said Solomons.

“These sales may allow him to unlock some capital for use elsewhere.”

In a recent interview, Arnaout told PubTIC his purchase of The Bourbon, at the other end of Kings Cross’ ‘The Strip’, may well see another example of the residential-over-hotel operations they have had success with elsewhere.

PubTIC contacted Arnaout for comment on the Mercure sale, but was unable to secure a response in time.