Old mates Marty Short and Sean O’Hara have signed for the Toormina Hotel in Coffs Harbour as coastal pubs keep surfacing in a hot market.
Toormina, a southern suburb of mid north coast hub Coffs Harbour, borders seaside playground Sawtell. The Hotel is within the thriving Toormina Shopping Centre, boasting anchor tenants Woolworths, Coles and Aldi. Enjoying no nearby competition, it has seen 20 per cent annual trade growth.
The new joint venture for Short and O’Hara took the keys for a cool $10 million from Jaz Mooney’s Pelathon Management Group, who sold it on behalf of co-investors.
Speaking to PubTIC, Short says he’s excited about the opportunity to run a great pub in a growing area with his old buddy.
“The pub’s got a great layout, with multiple outdoor areas and dining. Pelathon have done a great job to date, but there’s plenty of opportunity to do more.
“We want to introduce more of a family focus and dining experience … extend on what Pelathon started, and evolve it as a champion of the community and local meeting place.
“W.Short Hotel Group will oversee the day-to-day running of the place, and Sean will be involved in the management of the business.”
Pelathon executed an extensive renovation of the Toormina, which has a large beer garden, TAB and gaming room with 20 EGMs, multiple bars and a drive-through bottle shop.
It is the third coastal pub for the Shorts, joining their Seabreeze Beach Hotel at South West Rocks, and joint venture with the Maloufs at Caves Beach.
Short notes the road upgrading going on between Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour will likely draw a lot more tourist visitation that will benefit both the Seabreeze and Toormina.
It is the second school-mate coastal collaboration for Sean O’Hara this month, joining his Bradford Hotel purchase in Maitland with Mark Malloy, as he branches out from the family’s successful portfolio.
The Toormina sold off-market through JLL Hotels’ national director John Musca, who says its shopping centre location and prospects equated to a “no-brainer” for the incoming.
“The transaction follows the now normal pattern of regional equity flight from Sydney, which driven by the city’s severely constricted hotel supply, has astute operators looking to the larger growth centres throughout the state in pursuit of yield.
“With the ability to secure debt funding at sub-four per cent and with the potential to secure sustainable double digit yields for quality scalable hotels with attractive business spread, for certain hoteliers the aggregation of regional hotels represents a sound capital deployment and growth strategy.”
Marty Short attended publican breeding ground St Josephs (Joeys), alongside the likes of the Laundy sons and some of the O’Hara boys. After high school Marty and Sean worked together at the Short family’s Australian Hotel in The Rocks, before travelling overseas as part of a group.
Both products of hotel dynasties, Shorty says this is their first pub venture together.
“It’s something that just feels right.”