SYDNEY-The Southern Cross Hotel here is under new ownership. The 192-unit hotel tower was acquired for AUS$30 million ($20.7 million) by the Toga Group, the parent company of Surry Hills, Australia-based Medina Serviced Apartments and Vibe Hotels. The new owners have changed the name of the property to Quality Hotel Sydney and are planning a AUS$4-million ($2.8-million) makeover of the hotel that will turn it into a four-star property.Located on the corner of Elizabeth and Goulburn streets, the property features oversized guest rooms, conference and function facilities, two restaurants and a bar. Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels’ SVP Mark Durran tells current average daily occupancy of the property is 92%, which is well above Sydney’s 2003 average of 76.1%. The average daily room rate is AUS$90 ($62), says Durran, who brokered the off-market transaction.Durran says part of the success of the property is its location near the massive World Square development. The project, which includes more than one million sf of office space, has been a catalyst for transforming this part of the city. “This will have a positive impact on demand for accommodation in and around the precinct,” says Durran.Details on the makeover were not immediately available, but it has been generally described as a complete refurbishment. The seller was Kengfu Properties, which is part of the Lian Huat Group of Singapore, says Durran. Kengfu Properties is related to Kengfu Development, which has interests in real estate development, hotel management and ownership, construction, trading and property investment. Its real estate activities in Singapore involve development of commercial, residential and conservation projects.Durran says the nearby RG Hotel also is on the market. The 3.5-star hotel with 220 rooms has recently obtained approval for the development of an additional four levels and conversion into a building with 105 residential apartments. JLL has the disposition assignment. The asking price is AUD$36 million ($24.9 million).

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