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Investor buys $4m CQ motel to house Adani workers

THE BEGINNING: Emerald's Route 66 Motor Inn has just sold for almost $4m to a southern investor.
THE BEGINNING: Emerald's Route 66 Motor Inn has just sold for almost $4m to a southern investor. Contributed

IT COULD be the tip of the Adani iceberg.

A NSW-based investor and a major player in the motel's game has purchased the Route 66 Motor Inn business for close to $4 million.

Months out from the expected construction start date of the mega Carmichael Mine in Clermont, the move is considered the first substantial backing since the mining downturn.

Developed in 2007, the motel off Opal St, features houses 59 rooms and suites, apartments, a cocktail bar and 60-seat restaurant.

In the peak of its powers the motel saw a roaring trade, however, like many of its competitors it saw its fair share of tough times. Since the height of the resources boom it had operated at under 40% from 2012 to now.

Negotiated by Resorts Brokers Australia managing director Ian Crooks, pictured, the investment is seen as a thrust in the right direction for Central Queensland.

 

Resort Brokers Australia managing director Ian Crooks.
Resort Brokers Australia managing director Ian Crooks. Contributed

"It could be the tip of the iceberg. I hope it will be," Mr Crooks, who has 44-years in the industry, said.

"I have never seen a downturn as big as this, early 1989-91 was bigger in terms of people not being able to borrow, but this one has been more catastrophic.

"Hotels and motels were built but as soon as construction finished no one would move in."

Mr Crooks said it was the first sale of its kind for the Emerald region since the downturn and its timing was ideal.

"Look no further than this sale for a sign of what the massive Carmichael Mine and other new mining projects means for Central Queensland in terms of renewed business confidence and attracting investment," he said.

"Our buyer has his eye firmly on the huge opportunity presented by new mining projects, particularly the Adani mega-mine. It's the first major sale in the Emerald area since the mining downturn and an indication of what's to come.

"The sale reflects a good 15% return on current figures and the buyer expects occupancy to increase substantially, driven by renewed investment in mining and the flow-on effect that will have across all sectors."

 

Route 66 Motor Inn has just sold for almost $4m to a southern investor.
Route 66 Motor Inn has just sold for almost $4m to a southern investor. Contributed

Further indication that Emerald and the Central Highlands are about to pick up can be found in Route 66's new owner, Andre Vududala.

Mr Crooks said he was a major player in the investor's game and sees market trends before most.

"He owns 13 service stations, five super markets and now two motels," he said.

"He came over from India and never left, he is a big player. It is a good sign that he has jumped on this.

"Resort Brokers is now seeing a distinct turnaround with a lift in sentiment and inquiry levels as coal prices have improved. The Adani project edges closer to starting and a number of other new mining and infrastructure projects have been announced. There are more openings like Route 66 out there for investors and operators."

Mr Crook is just one of the masses who hope that the tide is starting to turn and the mining downturn drawing to a close.



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