Real estate manager Pro-invest has acquired the 5-star Primus Hotel in Sydney from Chinese developer Greenland Group.

The purchase price was not disclosed, but is believed to be around A$132m (€85m).

Pro-invest chairman, Ronald Barrott, said the purchase represented Pro-Invest’s first hotel in Sydney central business district. It was also Pro-Invest’s first property in the luxury sector.

“The Pro-invest team identified the Primus, with its inventory of large guest rooms and suites and expansive lobby, as an exceptional opportunity to rebrand and reposition towards an upscale lifestyle hospitality offering,” said Pro-invest co-CEO Jan Smits.

Mark Durran, JLL Hotels managing director, told IPE Real Assets the hotel had attracted strong competition from both real estate private equity groups and fund managers because it was the first luxury hotel with vacant possession to come to the Sydney market in 8 years.

“The Sydney hotel market is one of the most tightly-held in Asia-Pacific,” he said. “There is a scarcity of good assets. While it is true that the trading environment is obviously challenging, and hotels are struggling, investors typically look at a five- to 10-year horizon. They are looking beyond COVID-19.

“The current crop of investors looking at Sydney hotels seek assets which can be rebranded and repositioned for the eventual recovery of the tourism market.”

Durran added that the Primus Hotel asset came up only as a result of market dislocation.

Greenland Australia managing director, Sherwood Luo, said Greenland remained committed to the Australian market and its extensive pipeline of local development projects.

“We have a forecast investment pipeline of A$3bn in Australian commercial and residential property projects, including our current project, Greenland Centre Sydney, and our joint venture with GH Australia-Park Sydney located in inner-city Erskinville,” he said.

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