In Property by Clyde Mooney

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After nearly two decades the Blair family has reached another milestone with the sale of their big Kingswood pub to the very acquisitive Iris Group.

Neville Blair has owned and operated the Kingswood Hotel since 2001, which earlier this year underwent a rebrand to become the Milestone Hotel Kingswood, in line with the group’s Milestone Hotel at Leichhardt.

The two-storey brick Kingswood occupies a block around 2,000sqm on the Great Western Hwy, opposite Kingswood Railway Station, which is the last stop before Penrith Station and just under an hour’s drive west of the Sydney CBD.

The Hotel offers a public bar, TAB, a newly renovated commercial kitchen, 25 EGMs in an outdoor smoking solution and parking.

The precinct has been re-zoned from Band 3 down to Band 2, and ALH high-performing gaming pubs the Colyton Hotel and Pioneer Tavern, currently ranked #46 sand #70 respectively, are each within three kilometres of the Hotel.

The title also includes two vacant lots at the rear, adding an additional 1,800 square metres to a site central to Western Sydney University and Nepean Hospital, each around one kilometre away.

Iris has increasingly made a practice of incorporating hospitality and development opportunities, and purchased with a view to a mixed-use development in line with zoning that could see up to 150 apartments above a pub.

The pub will continue to trade while feasibility and planning are done for the site – after a few tweaks.

“Iris sees this asset as being a natural bolt-on to the stable, and we will look to improve on what is already a great pub in a great location,” reports Arnaout.

“We’ll focus on doing what we do: optimise the existing business by looking at all areas. In the first instance, while we work out planning for the rest of the site, this will mean reinstating a food operation into the business, bringing in a premium sports bar offering, and we’ll refurbish and reactivate the dormant accommodation rooms upstairs.

“We’ll give the façade and signage an upgrade to improve its curb appeal, and look at refurbishing the gaming room. It’s got the makings to be a real big-format pub.”

Ongoing operations will include a return to its long-held moniker, the Kingswood, as part of Iris Group’s ‘nod to history’ approach and community engagement.

The tactics appear to be working, with Iris collecting 22 nominations for this year’s AHA NSW Awards for Excellence. On the eve of the Awards, Arnaout hints of more portfolio work on the horizon.

“We’re very passionate and very wed to the industry, and we continue to look at opportunities to expand our portfolio. We’re very excited where we’re sitting currently, with 18 hotels in the group, and there’s always room for more.”

The off-market sale of the Milestone Kingswood was through Knight Frank’s Mike Wheatley and Kate MacDonald, who while not revealing the sale price, acknowledged its past presence, its present, and its potential.

“There has been a lot of interest in the Milestone Hotel for many years, and our client saw the potential of the pub and the growing region,” says MacDonald.

“We are excited to see what Sam and the Iris team will achieve in the location.”