15/06/2015 - 16:26

Prendiville upgrades hotels portfolio

15/06/2015 - 16:26

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Prendiville upgrades hotels portfolio
LOCATION: Garrett Prendiville says the group focuses on buying property with features that can’t be replicated. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Fresh from unveiling a $7.3 million revamp of Broome’s Mangrove Hotel, hotelier Prendiville Group is turning its attention to a redevelopment of the Tradewinds Hotel in Fremantle to keep up with new entrants to the market.

Prendiville Group hotels executive director Garrett Prendiville said planning was still in its early stages at the Tradewinds, but confirmed it was the next project for the company, which has 12 properties in its portfolio across Western Australia and Queensland.

Mr Prendiville said the establishment of the Hougoumont Hotel on Bannister Street, and the upcoming DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Fremantle, as well as a range of new small bars and taverns, meant it was time to upgrade the Tradewinds.

At Broome, the entire Mangrove Hotel has been redeveloped, from its guest rooms through to its food and beverage and function offerings.

Mr Prendiville said a major focus of the works was to give the property, which he said was previously one of Broome’s most popular watering holes, back to the locals.

“We’ve taken 24 months to get where we’ve got to, but it was on purpose because we needed to understand what the people wanted,” Mr Prendiville told Business News.

“The previous owners wanted to turn it into a backpackers and were keen to go for a tourist-type of trade, as opposed to a combination of both tourists and locals.

“We’ve tried to give back the property to the locals, and that’s important because visiting friends and relatives is a very critical component of that Broome market.”

The Mangrove Hotel is a good example of the Prendiville Group’s investment strategy of buying older properties, in iconic locations, that are in need of updating or upgrading.

Mr Prendiville said planning was also under way for redevelopment works at Hotel Rottnest, however, he would not be drawn on specific details.

He said Prendiville Group, which is celebrating the 50th anniversary of purchasing its first properties, motels and truck stops in Balladonia and Norseman, was increasingly active in seeking out new acquisitions.

“We’re still a relatively small player in the game but we’re almost getting to that critical mass where economies of scale come into play and we can focus on bigger assets and bigger opportunities,” Mr Prendiville said.

“We’re having a look around in Cairns, Sydney and Melbourne and also the Perth CBD … everyone wants to be there.

“Perth has so much opportunity, and it’s time for the hotel model to change as well.

“We can start to be a little more niche in terms of the specific clientele that we target.”

Another well-known hotel owned by the group is the Cottesloe Beach Hotel, but despite the state government relaxing height restrictions to allow up to five storeys at the site, Mr Prendiville said mid-rise development was not on the cards.

“There are a lot of things we can do down the track, but we have to be careful, because, the same way with Broome, people get so attached and very passionate about that property,” he said.

“You don’t want to ruin what is an iconic tourism asset for Perth and WA, and we have a responsibility to the community to maintain an offering down there for the locals.

“That doesn’t mean converting it into something that it probably shouldn’t be.”

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