Billionaire Bruce Gordon puts The Scarborough Hotel up for sale

Media veteran Bruce Gordon’s WIN Corporation empire has called last drinks on the iconic Scarborough Hotel, with the pub put on the block for the first time in 40 years.

Sprawled across 3900 square metres, the pub has long held a prominent site on the Illawarra escarpment. Sitting south of the Sea Cliff Bridge, the Scarborough boasts ocean views, a cliff-top beer garden and nearly 140 years of history.

The Scarborough Hotel has been listed for the first time in 40 years.

WIN chief executive Andrew Lancaster said the site was being sold as part of the group’s program to divest non-core assets.

“Even though the hotel has been part of our property portfolio for 40 years, it is not part of our core business, and we look forward to seeing what a new owner can deliver for the site,” Lancaster said.

WIN has already sold the Imperial Hotel at Clifton to the Shellharbour Workers’ Club, for a reported $2.2 million in 2015, as part of its divestment program.

The dilapidated pub, which had been closed for more than 10 years, has since been converted into a multi-level restaurant and cafe.

WIN Corporation is a private Australian media company, that owns assets including the WIN Television network, Crawford Productions and several local radio stations.

Gordon, the Bermuda-based owner of WIN Corp, is the biggest shareholder of Nine Entertainment (the owner of this masthead) with a 14.94 per cent stake.

“The Scarborough Hotel is a site with major potential and with two years remaining on the lease, this is the right time to list it for sale,” Lancaster said.

“Similar to our sale of the Clifton Hotel, we envision a new owner will have fresh ideas on how to maximise the appeal of the site and the opportunities it provides.”

The Scarborough Hotel.

The Scarborough Hotel site is zoned C4 Environmental Living, which is a zone for land with “special environmental or scenic values where residential development can be accommodated”, and is listed for sale through Colliers, for an undisclosed price.

“We’ve only been live for 24 hours so no buyer indications just yet, it is a unique asset and the process will let us know what the market thinks,” Simon Kersten, managing director of Colliers Wollongong, said.

The sale comes as the pub sector continues to generate significant buyer interest, with up to $3 billion worth of properties changing hands in the past year. The biggest transaction this year was the recent sale of the Oaks Hotel in Sydney’s Neutral Bay for more than $150 million.

‘The Scarborough Hotel is a site with major potential and with two years remaining on the lease, this is the right time to list it for sale.’

In North Wollongong, the Corrimal Hotel – bought by Damian Kelly’s Pub Invest group for $10 million in 2016 – sold last March for $32.5 million, after extensive renovations.

Despite divesting the pubs, WIN will retain significant property holdings within the Illawarra. It is also focused on delivering the proposed St George Illawarra Dragons Community and High-Performance Centre at the University of Wollongong’s Innovation Campus during the next two years.

The group is planning a $400 million upgrade of Wollongong CBD to create the WIN Grand being three residential towers and a 39-storey office block that will be the tallest building in the city.

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