‘Conti’ in new hands – again

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A “LOCAL private developer” has bought Sorrento’s heritage-listed Continental Hotel after a two-month sales campaign by Colliers International.

Vendor Julian Gerner on Friday would not disclose the buyer’s name or the price, which is tipped to be about $22 million.

The sale of the four-storey limestone building at 1-21 Ocean Beach Road includes an adjoining former public car park at 23 Constitution Hill Road.

Colliers International’s Guy Wells said the sale was a “significant win for both the much-loved hotel and the wider community, as the purchaser has committed capital and the ability to bring this iconic asset back to life through an extensive redevelopment”.

He said the purchaser planned to “recommence works on the existing redevelopment as soon as possible”.

Sorrento locals had feared the derelict icon in its half-finished state could be lost to the stormy winter weather – a concern repeatedly raised at a 400-strong public meeting at which Mr Gerner announced his intention to put the 1875 building on the market. (Turnout proves ‘Conti’ dear to Sorrento’s heart, The News 8/7/19).

Mr Gerner – who is in Broome on holidays with his family – said the new owners had “more than three decades of experience in construction and development [and were] perfectly placed to pick up where construction left off”.

“While the purchaser wishes to remain private and details of the sale are confidential, [they] have committed to deliver the vision as promised,” he said.

“I continue to work closely with Mornington Peninsula Shire, Heritage Victoria and the heritage architect to ensure all obligations are met and the site is maintained appropriately during the settlement period.”

Mr Wells said the sales campaign had “received strong interest from a wide variety of owner operators, developers and investors, with the successful purchaser a local private developer who plans to recommence works on the existing redevelopment as soon as possible”.

“The purchaser will engage with stakeholders and ensure the development is in line with heritage and existing planning guidelines,” he said.

“The sale is a significant win for both the much-loved Continental Hotel and the wider community, as the purchaser has committed capital and the ability to bring this iconic asset back to life through an extensive redevelopment.”

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 10 September 2019

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