Cbus buys prime-site Melbourne hotel

By Lisa Allen and Ben Wilmot (The Australian)

Cbus Property, the real estate investment arm of industry superannuation fund Cbus, has bought the Mercure Melbourne Treasury Gardens Hotel from Middle Eastern owner Pearl Hotels for about $70 million in an off-market deal.

The four-star hotel on Spring Street will make way for a new residential tower, following Cbus Property’s luxury development at nearby 35 Spring Street.

The 164-room hotel has spectacular views across the Treasury Gardens and will be kept open as Cbus Property starts planning for what will be its second residential tower in the exclusive enclave.

Cbus Property will target wealthy buyers as it did with its recent Collins Arch Melbourne complex on Collins Street.

The group is now commissioning a design competition for the 1270sq m Treasury Gardens site and wants to lodge the planning application early next year, with development proposed to kick off in late 2019.

Cbus Property chief executive Adrian Pozzo initially denied the deal would take place when contacted by The Australian recently, but yesterday he said the proposed development would complement the company’s residential projects in the Melbourne CBD. Collins Arch Melbourne is under construction while 35 Spring Street was completed in April this year.

The sale was brokered by Gus Moors of Colliers International.

In Canberra, acquisitive developer Geocon is planning a luxury hotel as part of its restoration of the historic West Block buildings near the new Parliament House.

Geocon recently bought the site from the Commonwealth for $6.25 million. “Given its location and history, this hotel has the potential to be talked about all over the world, to be one of those ‘must-see’ icons when people visit Australia’s national capital, like Raffles in Singapore or the George V in Paris,” said Geocon managing director Nick Georgalis yesterday.

Fender Katsalidis, the powerhouse behind Hobart’s MONA, will design the new hotel.

Mr Georgalis said the new hotel would preserve and celebrate important aspects of Canberra’s early history.

The West Block Hotel will be one of the new deluxe offerings for the group, which owns the Abode Group of Hotels.

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