17/06/2020 - 11:59

Saracen adds to flowing hotel project pipeline

17/06/2020 - 11:59

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The new Westin resort planned for Margaret River joins a wave of hotel developments taking shape across the state worth more than $500 million.

Saracen adds to flowing hotel project pipeline
The $165 million proposal for The Ocean Beach Hotel in Cottesloe. Photo: Hillam Architects

The new Westin resort planned for Margaret River joins a wave of hotel developments taking shape across the state worth more than $500 million. 

Margaret River will soon add another drawcard to its tourism smorgasbord, with development of a five-star spa and resort to be run by luxury hotel operator Marriott International under the Westin brand.

The 120-room hotel, designed by CHRISTOU Design Group, will be located 10 kilometres from Margaret River’s town centre on the southern headland of Gnarabup Beach, a site that has access to the famous Cape to Cape walking trail.

It will be the area’s first five-star hotel, upon completion in 2023.

Developer Saracen Properties and investment adviser Security Capital Australia announced plans for the new hotel last week, understood to be valued at $100 million.

CBRE and King & Wood Mallesons acted as joint advisers to the development, with 15 regional and international operators making bids for the project.

The new hotel will join more than 230 Westin-branded offerings around the world, and complement Marriott International’s existing Western Australia asset, The Westin Perth, which the company hopes to leverage as a city-Margaret River itinerary bookend for travellers.

Marriott International senior director for hotel development, Richard Crawford, said securing an offering in the state’s South West was part of the company’s assertive expansion plan to gain footholds in regional and resort locations across Australia.

Mr Crawford said the South West was recognised around the world for its beaches, climate, tourist trails and quality food and wine, estimated to attract more than 3 million visitors each year.

“In a post COVID-19 world, we are confident that this desire will be stronger than ever before,” Mr Crawford told Business News.

In addition to guestrooms, The Westin Margaret River Resort & Spa will feature three on-site dining venues, 400 square metres of meeting and event space, as well as leisure facilities including a resort-style outdoor swimming pool, fitness studio and day spa.

“Despite the operational challenges we have faced in the current global environment, Marriott International has been able to keep all of our Australian hotels open, which says much about our local team’s ability to adapt to extreme circumstances and uncertainty,” Mr Crawford said.

“And on the development front, 2020 will be a record year of signings in the Australia Pacific region for Marriott International, demonstrating hotel investment confidence in a world beyond COVID-19.

“Our expectation is that 2021 will be a year of recovery for Australia’s tourism industry, led by domestic travel, with international visitation rebounding in 2022.

“By 2023, when The Westin Margaret River opens, we are very optimistic that travel patterns and demand will have returned to 2019 levels.”

Saracen Properties’ involvement with the Margaret River development represents a turnaround in fortunes for executive chair Luke Saraceni, who spent much of the past decade embroiled in a dispute with Commonwealth Bank over its decision to appoint receivers to his $500 million Raine Square project.

Mr Saraceni has remained active in the intervening years, with Saracen Properties undertaking conservation and restoration works of Fremantle’s Royal George Hotel, as well as jointly developing the $25 million Rose on Angove apartment project in North Perth.

Project director Joel Saraceni told Business News Margaret River was in need of a full-service hotel of an international standard, with the land selected an ideal location for such a development.

“Typically, the core of our business is in the retail and commercial development … but we do other projects, like residential projects, industrial projects,” Mr Saraceni said.

“Where the Westin project fitted in was, it was seven hectares of beachfront land in the heart of Margaret River with all zonings already in place.

“That sort of land in WA doesn’t come up every day of the week. It’s impossible to replicate.

“It was really just a case of a terrific piece of land that you couldn’t say no to.”

Pipeline

The Westin Margaret River joins a number of hotel developments taking shape across WA.

Construction is already under way on the 108-room Hilton Garden Inn Albany.

The Hilton brand has three more hotels planned for WA: the DoubleTree by Hilton Fremantle, due for completion in 2022; the $80 million 122-room Hampton Inn by Hilton at Cockburn Central; and the DoubleTree by Hilton Perth Waterfront, currently under construction, neighbouring the recently completed 204-room Ritz-Carlton Perth at Elizabeth Quay.

There are 397 additional hotel rooms proposed for Elizabeth Quay according to DevelopmentWA, the state government’s central development agency.

This includes 207 guest rooms as part of a five-star hotel within Brookfield Property Partners’ $1.1 billion twin tower development, which also includes plans for 220 luxury apartments, office, and retail space.

Construction was anticipated to start in 2019, however, it’s understood the overall product mix of the towers is still being finalised. CA & Associates, led by Malaysian developer Victor Goh, has begun earthworks on the $385 million EQ West development at Elizabeth Quay, which includes a 190-room hotel component.

Mr Goh’s plans for the $140 million second stage of Capital Square, which will add two more towers alongside Woodside’s headquarters, were approved last month.

Plans for the 32-storey Tower 3 building include offices and a hotel, featuring 144 hotel rooms on the building’s upper levels.

Beyond the Perth CBD, a $165 million revamp of the Ocean Beach Hotel in Cottesloe could be on the cards.

Owner Stan Quinlivan lodged a development application in February, proposing a 10-storey development comprising a five-star, 167-room hotel as well as luxury apartments and townhouses.

On the city fringe, development group Dradgin Pte Ltd completed work on a 168-room Subiaco hotel in 2019.

International hotel chain Park Regis pulled out of that deal, however, Dradgin representative Graham Murdoch told Business News the developer was in the process of finalising agreements with another operator.

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