In On the Market by Clyde Mooney

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Private hoteliers Michael Wiggins and Joanne Cassar have put up the big corner Oxford Hotel in Drummoyne, in a rare opportunity for Sydney’s tightly-held gaming market.

Wiggins and Cassar have owned a string of pub operations, divesting their Royal Exhibition in Surry Hills in November 2015 to buy the Oxford from Sam Arnaout’s Iris Group for around $34 million.

The Oxford dominates a high-profile corner, where Victoria Road meets arterial Lyons Road, occupying a 974sqm site with three street frontages courtesy of rear access on Formosa Street. The title includes an adjoining retail building on Lyons Road, currently delivering $132k in gross rent per annum. 

Having experienced a range of offerings under a few owners over the past decade, the business reports strong food and beverage revenues with ongoing opportunity. There is also potential to make use of a rooftop bar area, which would capitalise on uninterrupted views of the CBD, Sydney Harbour Bridge and harbour. 

The gaming operation, with 30 machines, has been a consistent Top100 performer. Although slipping outside in the past year, it has just gained approval to trade until 4am, and yet to see the upside, with limited local competition in a strong gaming region.

There has also been a DA lodged to extend the gaming room by around 30 per cent. The B4 mixed-use zoning and 15-metre height limit on the two properties could also offer further development opportunity in the future.

Having hands-on built the business over the past four years, Wiggins and Cassar are now ready to plan their own future.

“After a busy tenure, we are looking forward to some downtime before assessing our next move,” offers Wiggins. 

“We have wholeheartedly enjoyed our time at the Oxford, especially the engagement with the close-knit Drummoyne and Canada Bay community, and are confident that we’re leaving the hotel with a great trajectory of earnings growth.”

As the transactional indecision seen in the lead-up to the Federal election wanes, and the Reserve Bank pushes cash rates to new historic lows, the Oxford freehold sale is likely to fetch in the low $40-millions.

The vendors have engaged HTL Property directors Dan Dragicevich and Sam Handy to market the Oxford via Private Treaty, armed with an asset holding many attributes in short supply.

“Not many Hotels present such compelling investment fundamentals as does The Oxford – notably the expansive, and recently approved 4am two-level trading footprint, high-performing gaming room and landmark positioning,” notes Dragicevich.  

“The Oxford Hotel is a beacon of opportunity and a rare and timely call to action for astute investors with a mandate to acquire Top100 gaming properties,” adds Handy.