In Bush Telegraph by Clyde Mooney

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Steven Speed’s WDS Hotels has divested the elegant Bellevue Hotel in Sydney’s east to industry stalwarts the Malouf family.

Built 1880, the elegant two-storey Bellevue adorns the corner of Hargrave Street and Windsor Lane, in the very-pubbed suburb of Paddington.

It has gone through a succession of name owners, including John Singleton and Geoff Dixon’s Australian Pub Fund, with operations by Riversdale. They subsequently sold it to Speed, and partner Peter Walker, in early 2014.

Building on their landmark Fortune of War in The Rocks, Speed and Walker’s WDS Hotels undertook a detailed and complex year-long renovation on the historic building. The rejuvenated Bellevue reopened July 2015 to widespread acclaim.

But pondering future projects, the pair recently undertook an off-market sale process, resulting in a transaction sources suggest was around $6.5 million.

“We’ve enjoyed a successful four years of ownership at this great hotel, and following complete renovation and repositioning, formed a decision to focus on our existing portfolio, and to recycle the capital into another opportunity we’re considering,” explains Speed.

The Malouf’s group, Royal Hotels, has built a broad portfolio that includes literal ground-up construction of the Gregory Hills Hotel, taking hold of the western Sydney precinct in 2016 and going on to win a string of awards.

They further their eastern suburbs presence with purchase of the iconic Bellevue through HTL Property’s Andrew Jolliffe and Dan Dragicevich, joining the recent acquisition by Good Beer Group of the Four in Hand.

“Paddington, as a hospitality precinct, has proven popular with investors in recent times, with the sale of the Bellevue being the third Hotel sold in the suburb in the last 12 months,” says Dragicevich.

“It now seems most of the larger Sydney-based hospitality groups have a footprint in the area, and we look forward to seeing Royal Hotels take the Bellevue forward.”