EXCLUSIVE

Eden's Australasia Hotel sold to developer for $5m

The painstakingly restored front facade of the Australasia Hotel, September 2021.Photo: Leah Szanto
The painstakingly restored front facade of the Australasia Hotel, September 2021.Photo: Leah Szanto

Contracts have exchanged on the sale of the Australasia Hotel, from Neil Rankin to developer Core Asset Development (CAD).

It's understood the historic hotel on Imlay Street, Eden, was acquired this week for around $5million.

The hotel was saved from demolition by the award-winning builder, his foreman Peter Goncharuk and team, who are carrying out extensive renovations on the property.

Neil and his team are currently working on the interior of the 1904 hotel, having revealed the restored facade of the original building in June this year.

CAD plans to continue restoration of the iconic venue, creating "a nine room, five-star boutique heritage hotel with restaurants, outdoor eateries and a bar called 'Rankin's Bar'".

"The hotel will also feature two vodka and gin distilleries, an outdoor theatre and 2SEA community radio station," CAD told Australian Community Media.

CAD intends to create a new laneway, called Isla Laneway, with car parking at the rear adjoining Twofold Arcade and Imlay St, creating a "vibrant commercial centre and tourist destination".

Bega Valley Shire Council purchased the Australasia in 2016 "as a civic space and to upgrade the CBD," according to then-councillor Sharon Tapscott.

Community group Eden's Australasia lobbied to ensure the building was put on the heritage list, and fundraised to preserve the significant historic building, with the group's main goal to ensure the facade was restored.

The leading commercial building contractor on the Far South Coast made it very clear he was passionate about the restoration, but had no interest in becoming a publican.

Award-winning builder Neil Rankin salvaged and reused many original materials in the first stage of the restoration of the Australasia.

Award-winning builder Neil Rankin salvaged and reused many original materials in the first stage of the restoration of the Australasia.

Bega Valley Shire mayor Russell Fitzpatrick said the sale to CAD would still be subject to the side deeds that were part of the original contract with Neil Rankin when he purchased the hotel.

"The conditions of the side deed still apply," he said.

The developers have also lodged a development application for a $100million, four-tower residential and hotel complex known as The Sapphire of Eden, and propose to use the Australasia as tourist accommodation and "a hub for the local community to gather and enjoy a drink and a meal to complement the tourist ambience of the Sapphire Coast".

Australasia Hotel's operations and management will be linked to the new Sapphire of Eden Hotel By Radisson.

"We can now use the Australasia for tourists visiting the area and want to stay in high quality, heritage accommodation," Mark Toma, a director of CAD, said.

According to CAD, "important tourist infrastructure like the Sapphire Hotel of Eden, Australasia Hotel and the new cruise terminal will set the area on a rapid growth path, with workers and tourists moving into or visiting this incredible historic area".

It is anticipated the hotel will be operational by January 2022.

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This story Eden's Australasia Hotel sold to developer for $5m first appeared on Bega District News.