Leading hotel group acquires Hunter Valley’s The Convent and Circa 1876

Sydney, 25 June 2016 One of the Hunter Valley’s most revered hotel estates has been sold to the Escarpment Group, an experienced hospitality operator, in their first foray outside of the Blue Mountains.

The Convent is one of the best known and most recognisable hospitality assets in the Hunter Valley. Built in1909 in Coonamble, the Convent was once home to an order of nuns and was carefully transported 600km to its new home in Pokolbin. It comprises 17 guest rooms, a restaurant, pool, tennis court and conference facilities. The multi-award winning 5 star property spans 2.933 hectares and is entered via a stunning tree-lined drive.

It has been sold along with Circa 1876, one of the most iconic and recognisable fine dining restaurants in the Hunter Valley. Circa 1876 is ranked in Australia’s top 500 restaurants and has 1 Chef Hat. Set in 1.9945 hectares of beautiful gardens, the property features two buildings – the original heritage ‘Ironbark Cottage’ which has been renovated and restored, and the larger main dining building with seating for 120 diners.

CBRE Hotels' Rob Cross sold the properties in conjunction with Alan Jurd from Jurd’s Real Estate on behalf of the Cowley family, owners of the vendor, Strathig Pty Ltd.

Mr Cross said the campaign attracted 82 enquiries and 15 inspections, predominantly from Australian hotel groups, owner occupiers and publicans.

“The purchaser, Escarpment Group, is an experienced owner and operator of premium properties in the world heritage listed Blue Mountains, including the Hydro Majestic Hotel, Parklands Country Gardens and Lodges, Lilianfels Blue Mountains Resort and Spa and Echoes Boutique Hotel and Restaurant. This is their first purchase outside of the Mountains,” Mr Cross said.

“The Convent represents one of the truly romantic boutique hotels in this country and it is fantastic to see a group such as Escarpment take ownership and operational control.  Given the passion with which they have reinvigorated the likes of the Hydro Majestic and Parklands in the Mountains, there is no doubt they will have the same sympathy towards the Convent and Circa, which are not only historically significant but iconic assets in the Hunter Valley.”

Ralf Bruegger, Escarpment Group GM, noted; “We recognise the heritage value of both the Convent and Circa 1876. It is a strategic investment for Escarpment Group and further demonstrates our commitment to regional tourism in Australia. We are the largest employer of hospitality staff in the Blue Mountains and understand the opportunities and challenges of operating in a regional location.”

“We are excited about the opportunity to operate two of the most iconic properties in the Hunter Valley and intend to continue with its ongoing trading as well as attracting the growing number of local and international tourists,” Mr Bruegger added.

The agents declined to comment on the sale price.

CBRE also sold Tower Lodge and Tower Estate in the Hunter Valley in 2013 on behalf of the Cowley family. The purchaser then was Michael Hope of Hope Estate.

About CBRE Group, Inc.

CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (in terms of 2015 revenue). The Company has more than 70,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate owners, investors and occupiers through more than 400 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers strategic advice and execution for property sales and leasing; corporate services; property, facilities and project management; mortgage banking; appraisal and valuation; development services; investment management; and research and consulting. Please visit our website at www.cbre.com.