New owner of Byron’s ‘prettiest hotel’ revealed
THE Guok family appears to be staying with a decision made more than three years ago - that tens of millions raised by two major Gold Coast hotel sales wouldn't be leaving Australia.
They raised $84 million for the family of Singaporean investor Gertrude Guok, who first rolled into town in 1996 and snaffled the Greenmount.
Now the family's back in the hotel business, albeit in a modest way and in Byron Bay, not the Gold Coast.
The Guoks are buying The Bower, a three-year-old boutique property at Byron Bay whose design was inspired by the Bowery neighbourhood of New York's Manhattan.
It's a hotel that's been described in Vogue magazine as Byron Bay's prettiest hotel and as 'luxe beach-chic'.
The Guok family, by way of less glamorous investments, also has dipped a toe into the Burleigh Heads industrial market with a couple of modest buys.
These days Gertrude's not pulling the investment strings - she passed away a couple of years ago.
Now, 40-year-old nephew and man on the spot Josh is acting for the family.
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The accounting and hotel management graduate of Griffith University has lived on the Gold Coast for more than 20 years and married in 2017.
He's now a father-of-two and is in the process of building a home on a prime $2.55 million parcel of land fronting Tallebudgera Creek.
It appears that the minimal yields available from leaving money in the bank have encouraged Josh and his family to open their Aussie-cash wallet and start looking for better returns.
In The Bower deal, which doesn't settle for two or three months, the Guoks are paying around $18 million.
The 28-room hotel was forecast to net more than $1 million in 2019-20 - before COVID-19 travel restrictions bit.
When it was being marketed the net, even with the restrictions, was tipped to be more than $800,000.
In other words, all going well, the Guoks will be getting a return of more than 4 per cent and capital-gain potential - something which isn't offered with bank deposits.
The Bower's near 5000sq m site in Bangalow Rd also offers some upside from further development.
The hotel, on the site of a former motel, is being bought from the men who developed it - hotelier Sein Lowry and Byron Bay emergency physician Blake Eddington.
Josh and family might have a couple of interested observers as they progress at The Bower in the form of the men who 'gave' them their $84 million investment kitty.
High-rise billionaire Harry Triguboff paid $58 million for the International Beach Resort, which started life as the Apollo apartment tower, and the Sunland Group coughed up $26 million for Greenmount.
Originally published as New owner of Byron's 'prettiest hotel' revealed