Developer and former Young Rich Lister Paul Fischmann has taken advantage of the recalibration of hotel values since the start of the pandemic after buying back the Mantra Terrace Hotel in Brisbane for $2 million less than what he sold it for in 2013.
Joining the growing number of interstate and offshore investors seeking a foothold in the Brisbane accommodation market, as it starts to come back to life, Mr Fischmann partnered with Sydney property developer Eduard Litver and business partner Jonathan Hasson to acquire the 84-room hotel at 52 Astor Terrace in Spring Hill for about $16 million.
That represents an 11 per cent discount to the $18 million Mr Fischmann, founder of 8Hotels, banked when he sold what was then called the Diamant Hotel to Singapore’s Well Smart Investment Holdings eight years ago. (Mr Fischmann secured the hotel previously for $15 million through an option agreement, and operated it for three years from 2011 to 2014).
Adding to the good deal metrics, the Mantra Terrace underwent a multi-million dollar renovation across its guestrooms, public spaces, and restaurant and bar earlier this year before reopening in April.
“It’s beautifully refurbished. I’ve bought it back in better condition than what I sold it for,” Mr Fischmann told The Australian Financial Review.
“It’s an asset I know well having first leased it from Scott Hutchinson whose firm built it. Then I owned it before selling it to Well Smart.”
The off-market deal, which was brokered by Wayne Bunz and Hayley Manvell of CBRE Hotels, follows brothers Bill and Mario Gravanis of Sydney-based Oscars Hotel Group acquiring the Oakwood apartment hotel overlooking the Brisbane River in September from Singapore real estate giant Mapletree Investments for $50 million and Syrian billionaire Ghassan Aboud buying The Fantauzzo Brisbane Art Series Hotel (since renamed The Vincent) for about $75 million in September last year.
“The [Mantra Terrace] acquisition demonstrates the positive outlook Sydney and Melbourne-based investors have of the Queensland economy and Brisbane as an investment destination underpinned by a range of factors, including strong net migration, unprecedented infrastructure investment and the forecast impact of the 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games,” Mr Bunz said.
Mr Fischmann acknowledged the positive impact of the successful Olympics bid would have on the Brisbane market, but said that was not the key factor in his decision to re-acquire the hotel.
“I would have had the same interest, even if the Olympics weren’t coming to Brisbane. It’s a strong, growing market, which will continue to get bigger as so many people want to come here. It’s a market that is coming into its own,” he said.
Latest hotel performance figures from STR show Brisbane had an occupancy rate of just under 50 per cent for the year to October compared with 37 per cent in Sydney and 36 per cent in Melbourne.
At its peak, 8Hotels operated about 14 boutique hotels in Australia, with more than 1000 rooms. The last of these hotels, The Felix at Sydney Airport was sold to Singapore’s Ascott REIT for $61 million in 2019 and renamed the Citadines Connect.
8Hotels will open the 38-bedroom Clancy Hotel in Surry Hills next year.
Earlier this year, Well Smart sold the Ibis Budget Melbourne CBD for more than $20 million.