Sydney hotelier Fraser Short has bought Jugiong’s The Sir George hotel for $14 million, believed to be a record price for regional NSW.
Established in 1845, The Sir George is famous for being the longest singularly held liquor licence establishment in Australia.
Mr Short described The Sir George as an iconic venue “that represents everything good about country NSW”.
The property, a popular watering hole for travellers between Sydney and Melbourne, and Canberra and Wagga Wagga, is understood to have drawn more than 200 enquiries from when expressions of interest were called in September 2021.
When mother and daughter owners Liz Prater and Kate Hufton put the hotel on the market, Ms Prater told Region Media it was a good time to sell because “the pub is humming”.
Ms Prater said the decision to sell was also for personal reasons.
“My daughter, Kate, has had three children in five years so it would be nice to have more time with family,” she said.
Speaking after the sale was confirmed, Ms Prater said, “We are so proud to have resurrected such a beautiful old hotel and created a thriving business for so many people to enjoy.
“We are sure that Fraser will do a fantastic job and take The Sir George to new levels like he has in so many other venues.”
The women bought the hotel in 2015 for around $550,000, transforming the country pub into a modern hospitality venue. By 2016, major restoration work was well underway, with extensive renovations done to bring the hotel back to its former glory, as well as adding modern touches to cater for today’s market.
“I am very excited to bring this rare gem into our group and carry the baton on from Kate and Liz, who have done an immaculate job in bringing this hotel, its gardens and historic building back to life for the community and tourists of Jugiong,” said Mr Short.
The restoration work included extensive landscaped gardens, luxury accommodation, a new restaurant and bar, bakery and store. The accommodation, eight barn-like villas and three suites in the former stables, are running at 95 per cent occupancy.
“It’s been an amazing experience, but it’s time for someone else to take over,” said Ms Prater prior to the sale. “We’ve had some wonderful people come through working with us, but now it’s time for us to move on.”
A long-time publican and hotel operator, Mr Short owns The Farm at Byron Bay, Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel on Sydney Harbour, and other venues across NSW. It is understood he will take over operation of The Sir George in February 2022.
The sales campaign for The Sir George was conducted by Tom Gibson and Paul Fraser from CBRE Hotels.
“The deal represented a price per key record for regional NSW, and highlights the strength of the market for quality tourism assets that offer solid investment fundamentals,” said Mr Gibson.