In Property by Clyde Mooney

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As the Lantern sell-down reaches a crescendo, Colin Parras has emerged as buyer of the listed Group’s Ambarvale Hotel, in the Greater Macarthur Priority Growth boomtown.

ambarvale_aerialOccupying 7,200 m² in Ambarvale, within Campbelltown LGA, the Hotel is central to a designated growth area slated to see 33,000 new homes in coming years.

Lantern’s (LTN) announced sale price of $21.2 million, equating to a 50.2 per cent premium on the listed company’s 30 June book value, is representative of the potential seen in the precinct.

Speaking to PubTIC, Parras says he’s excited about his new venture and the area’s future.

“This is a hotel that has been well-run by Lantern. Being so close to Christmas, we are just keen to take over the reins and run it as-is.

“It’s early days, and like the area we foresee growth continuing to progress like it has in recent times.”

The Ambarvale Hotel was marketed for LTN by CBRE Hotels’ national pub director Daniel Dragicevich and NSW vice-president pub investments, Sam Handy, who report no less than five sale contracts issued before a winner emerged.

The sale closely follows that of LTN’s Uncle Bucks, snapped up by Peter De Angelis for $25.3 million less than two weeks ago, which was also through CBRE.

“AAA gaming pubs are seldom offered to the market and, as a result, both properties attracted strong interest,” said Dragicevich.

“Prior to these sales, just three genuine Top 200 gaming hotels had transacted over the course of 2016 and there is expected to be very limited availability of pubs in the gaming segment in the foreseeable future.”

Located next a popular Aldi supermarket, the site enjoys flexible zoning and surplus land mostly used for parking, but Parras says he intends to keep the parcel and build up another landmark for the area.

The Hotel has benefited greatly from LTN’s turnaround strategy, climbing almost 100 places in the L&G list of gaming venues since June to sit now at #168.

Parras will bring to the Ambarvale some of the synergies in management of his Eastern Hotels Group partnership with Andrew Lazarus, and while he says a refurbishment is on the cards for next year, he is in no hurry to change things.

“Long-term we’re yet to see what the area is about, and I like to understand that before I go in too hard and fast.

“The local area and the hotel go hand-in-hand, which is a very positive thing for the purchase.”

LTN most recently listed its Five Dock Hotel, destined to be another big performance at market.