A new castle in sight
Crystalbrook eyes city site
IT launched in Cairns now Crystalbrook Collection is moving interstate to grow its empire.
The hotel chain, which last month opened the first of three CBD developments, has its eye on a unique Newcastle property. A boutique Surry Hills hotel was also purchased recently.
A CIRCULAR building in Newcastle has caught the eye of Crystalbrook Collection as the growing hotel empire looks outside Cairns for development opportunities.
The company has already launched three projects in the Far North, with a major transformation of the Port Douglas marina on the cards and another Cairns CBD property waiting for the right opportunity to arise.
Crystalbrook CEO Mark Davie said he had submitted tenders for the Newcastle City Council’s nine-storey “roundhouse” administration centre, believed to be on the market for about $15 million.
He planned to convert it into a five-star hotel rather than demolish and start from scratch.
“We’re still part of a tender program along with a lot of other bidders,” Mr Davie said,
“It’s not a heritage-listed building but we love the architecture, and we think it’s very much part of the history of Newcastle.
“We’ve always had that strategy to launch Crystalbrook Collection in Cairns.
“Now we’re very much on the expansion plan.”
If someone else snaps up the unusual building, Mr Davie has other options on the books as well.
“We’re pursuing several options in Newcastle to put in a five-star hotel,” he said.
“They’re all on the drawing board at the moment.”
Crystalbrook also recently added the boutique Little Albion hotel in Sydney’s Surry Hills to its portfolio.
The guesthouse, complete with custom furnishings and a considerable art collection, made international headlines when its former owner became the first person in the world to put an entire hotel up for rent on Airbnb for $15,000 a night.
Mr Davie is looking far and wide for chances to make wise investments on behalf of his employer, Syrian billionaire Ghassan Aboud.
“I’m planning to add further locations next year,” he said.
“We’re looking at properties in Canberra and Melbourne – they are probably the next two locations we will focus on.
“It means we will have properties right down the east coast of Australia.”
Meanwhile the Crystalbrook Lodge at Almaden near Chillagoe is proving popular with select visitors wanting to experience the outback in luxurious style.
“It doesn’t have a high turnover of visitors and we wouldn’t want that,” Mr Davie said.
“The property only has five guest rooms, but it’s all about the experience.”