Ovolo Group secures Sydney foothold with Hotel 1888 purchase

​Sydney, 4 June 2014 –  Hong Kong-based Ovolo Group Ltd., part of Hind Hotels & Properties Ltd., has acquired the Hotel 1888 at Pyrmont in Sydney via a confidential off market transaction.

Wayne Bunz and Rob Cross of CBRE Hotels handled the sale of the property, which is managed by leading boutique operator 8Hotels.

Including Hotel 1888, CBRE Hotels has negotiated circa $300 million in Australian hotel transactions in the first half of 2014.

Mr Bunz said the ability to transact the Pyrmont property off market highlighted the continued strength of not just the Sydney hotel market, but the national corporate hotel sector, underpinned by significant investor interest from South East Asia and China as well as from a number of domestic investors and owner operators.

“Sydney continues to be the number one destination for hotel investors and is a priority destination for foreign capital into Australia,” Mr Cross added.

Hotel 1888 was built by Michael Teplitsky and Darren Williams with design inspiration from Paul Fischmann, founder of 8Hotels. Mr Fischmann said that the property, which opened nine months ago, had been one of the most successful hotels he has been involved in from design and construction through to launch.

The boutique hotel occupies a refurbished wool store that was original built in 1888 and incorporates 90 spacious guest rooms. The property is situated on the CBD fringe at Pyrmont and is expected to greatly benefit from the new Sydney Convention Centre.

Ovolo owner operates the award winning lifestyle hotel Ovolo on Little Bourke Street in Melbourne and has a strong network of hotels in Hong Kong. The Pyrmont purchase represents The Group’s latest major investment in the Australian hotel market. In March, Ovolo purchased the Oaks on Lonsdale in Melbourne as part of an aggressive brand expansion strategy.

Ovolo’s Founder + CEO Girish Jhunjhnuwala said: “The sale of Hotel 1888 presented a unique opportunity for us to enter the Sydney hotel market. In terms of design and positioning, the hotel represents a perfect fit for our Group portfolio. We continue to look at new acquisitions in the Australian market to grow the Ovolo brand.”

Mr Bunz said the transaction capped a busy year to date for CBRE Hotels in Australia following on the heels of the Park Hyatt Melbourne sale to Fu Wah International.

“One of the benefits a global firm such as CBRE can offer in the current climate is the ability to tap into new capital sources, whether that is in South East Asia or Northern Asia, particularly China,” Mr Bunz said.

“Through our offshore network we are able to identify buyers such as Ovolo with specific investment criteria, allowing for a deal to be negotiated out of the public arena.”

Mr Bunz added; “We are seeing more and more Asian and Chinese capital destined for Australia and there is a much wider buyer pool than we have seen historically for Australian hospitality assets.  Cross border collaboration is therefore imperative in securing this inbound capital.”

Mr Cross said the sales momentum from Q2 was expected to continue over the course of the year.

CBRE Hotels is currently marketing hotels valued in excess of $200m and has a number of off market transactions, similar to that of Hotel 1888 and the Park Hyatt in Melbourne, in the pipeline.

“It’s very much a sellers’ market at present,” Mr Bunz said, adding that much of the new capital eyeing Australia was willing to pay a premium to buy assets off market.

“This is particularly attractive to many of the Asian buyers who require more time to come to terms with the Australian market, our legal processes and to secure the appropriate domestic approvals to proceed with acquisitions.”

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 2013 revenue).  The Company has approximately 44,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate owners, investors and occupiers through approximately 350 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.

About Ovolo Hotels

Founded by Girish Jhunjhnuwala in 2002, Ovolo has become one of Hong Kong’s larger independent hotel and serviced apartment operators in little over a decade by providing business and leisure guests with the best in effortless living. The company keeps in touch with the modern traveller through award-winning interior designs, detail-driven comforts, focused all-inclusive services and cutting-edge en-suite technology, all done in a signature style. A proud Hong Kong brand, Ovolo remains a family owned and privately operated business with a charitable core. The company now runs seven hotels and serviced apartment properties in Hong Kong Island and West Kowloon and one hotel in Melbourne, Australia. In Q3 2014 the company will launch a 162-room designer warehouse conversion hotel with restaurant, rooftop bar, meeting and event spaces in Southside, Hong Kong. Further expansion is now underway as Ovolo continues to look for more opportunities to develop and manage hotels, with projects in Australia, UK, and other South East Asian countries now being considered.