Sorrento's Continental Hotel Is Back on the Market

Sorrento’s Continental Hotel is back on the market following a series of contractual issues and failed financial partnerships plaguing the heritage-listed building's redevelopment.

Contractual issues of its sale to LBA Capital are now said to be “resolved” as of this week. While receivers were appointed to take control of the Sorrento property in late October, after multiple attempts to redevelop the “Conti”.

The 145-year-old, four-storey limestone building has sat in disrepair, after hotelier Julian Gerner purchased the site and neighbouring land parcel in 2015 for around $14 million.

Gerner had recently said he hoped to restart construction on the four-storey pub after Australia Day this year.

PKF Melbourne partner Petr Vrsecky, a receiver appointed by Manda Capital Holdings Pty Ltd confirmed that the Continental Hotel is “on the market again” as a “clean proposition”.

▲ Julian Gerner originally purchased Sorrento’s Continental Hotel in 2015.
▲ Manda Capital Holdings lent money to Continental Development, of which Julian Gerner sits as the director.

After purchasing the property in 2015 and obtaining heritage and planning approvals for its redevelopment, Gerner placed the hotel on the market in late 2017 for around $20 million after failing to secure funding to redevelop and restore the Sorrento hotel.

But soon after, Gerner entered into a joint venture with Melbourne-based developer Stellar Group on the $80 million redevelopment of the site.

After the unexpected collapse of Steller Group last year, Gerner moved again to sell the hotel which sat in disrepair when construction was abandoned.

A deal for the sale of the hotel was made by developer Demetrios Charisiou's LBA Capital for $21 million in September 2019.

Although LBA Capital, which had its assets frozen by the courts following a dispute with its South Korean-based financiers, failed to settle on the hotel.

This week, the Supreme Court of Victoria ruled that the previous contract for the sale of the hotel had ended, releasing the deposit paid by purchaser LBA Capital to Manda Capital Holdings Pty Ltd, the first mortgage.

Work on the $80 million project came to a stop last year when development partner Steller Group collapsed.
▲ Work on the $80 million project came to a stop last year when development partner Steller Group collapsed.

The Continental Hotel sale will now be through an expressions of interest campaign managed by Colliers Real Estate.

Manda Capital Holdings Pty Ltd appointed receivers in late October 2019. Gerner is also a director of Ocean Amphitheatre Company Pty Ltd which tried unsuccessfully to purchase the hotel from the receivers.

“We are pleased and relieved the matter has been brought to a head, and that we can now move forward with the sale of such an illustrious property,” Vrsecky said on the Supreme Court's ruling.

“The previous contract of sale is at an end, and we welcome all expressions of interest.”

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Article originally posted at: https://theurbandeveloper.com/articles/sorrentos-continental-hotel-hits-market-again