Sydney’s hotel mogul Andrew Lazarus

Sydney’s hotel mogul Andrew Lazarus is the new owner of the beachfront Merewether Hotel after buying it for $17.5 million.

The sale is believed to be cash-only with no conditions.

It was registered on August 29, two days before former owners Aussie Home Loans founder John Symond and his sister Christine Forster were due in court over a stoush over the building’s foundations that had threatened to delay or derail the deal.

Read more: Newcastle Council staff assists in refurbishing Andrew Lazarus beach hotel in Merewether

Under an agreement reached last month between Mr. Lazarus’ company Alma Investments Pty Ltd and Ms. Forster and Mr. Symond.

Both parties’ claims against each other were discontinued without any admission of liability.

Andrew Lazurus had told The Australian Financial Review he wanted to take possession of the hotel in early September and finish any remediation work required before reopening by mid-October.

The Merewether’s sale price was $10 million more than Mr. Lazarus paid late last year for another beachfront property, the former Holiday Inn, next door on Darby Street, and connected via a bridge.

He has said he plans to spend up to $20million returning that property into a boutique hotel with about 100 rooms.

The Merewether’s nine floors have 104 rooms, six suites, and a penthouse with ocean views.

Every room has been renovated, including new carpets, bed linen, wallpaper, curtains, and air conditioning.

A new roof was also installed late last year.

Combined with its location on prime beachfront land that fronts the main street of Newcastle’s CBD – just minutes from the foreshore and all major amenities – it is a prime investment asset.

The hotel has a 24-hour license to serve alcohol and an outdoor area for patrons to use for socializing at night without having to enter the hotel.

It was built in 1974 by Mr. Symond’s father, Ted.

He had big dreams of building a family dynasty of hotels, including buying the Bellevue Hotel on Darby Street, leasing the Harbourside Hotel in Honeysuckle, and building the new Merewether Surfhouse.

But Mr. Symond’s dream for his beloved Darby Street precinct was shattered when he lost control of it after an acrimonious split with his sister Christine.

She is married to Liberal Party heavyweight Michael Photios.

After years of bitter feuding, they finally settled their differences before Mr. Lazarus bought the hotel last month.

The fight over changes made by Ms. Forster and Mr. Symond found its way into the NSW Supreme Court, where Justice Peter Hamill struck out claims against each other after both parties agreed not to proceed with them.

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Learn more about Andrew Lazarus: https://www.domain.com.au/news/hotelier-andrew-lazarus-sells-vaucluse-house-to-hipages-