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Australian Rugby League Commission buys iconic hotel and restaurant

Desert Qlder

First Grade

Australian Rugby League Commission buys iconic Gambaro hotel and restaurant​

Brisbane’s iconic Gambaro hotel and restaurant has been purchased by the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) for more than $25m with plans to turn it into a football themed venue.

The commission in a statement said the transaction represents its first investment to strengthen the game’s financial position and acquire assets that “protect the game and provide new revenues for reinvestment in the game.”

The hotel will be rebranded as the NRL and be themed with rooms named after the game’s legendary players.

The Gambaro Hotel on Caxton St will be rebranded after it was bought by the Australian Rugby League Commission.
The Gambaro Hotel on Caxton St will be rebranded after it was bought by the Australian Rugby League Commission.

“The ARLC has a focus on strengthening its balance sheet with stable, secure investments that provide steady income, long-term capital growth and to protect the game against major interruptions,” the statement said.

Comment has been sought from Gambaro managing director John Gambaro and ARLC chairman Peter V’landys.

The commission said the hotel is ideal for the National Rugby League as it is located 300 metres from Suncorp Stadium.

The venue hosts all Brisbane Broncos home games and from 2023 will host eight Dolphins home games.

With the expansion of the NRLW to 10 teams in 2023, Suncorp Stadium is set to host additional rugby league events from 2023 onwards.

The Gambaro family will continue to operate the food and beverage facilities to take advantage of their successful brand into the future.

The ARLC is understood to have struck a management agreement with the Gambaro family who have operated the premises for 60 years. The marketing agent was HTL Property who said in a statement the property was extensively refurbished in 2014.

The Gambaro property houses a 68-room boutique hotel with considerable upside potential and numerous options for expansion and development of ancillary facilities.

The Gambaro family initially put the hotel and the seafood restaurant on the market in 2019 to focus on the rollout of their expanding hospitality empire. The property was expected to be sold for up to $35m at the time.

The Gambaro name has been synonymous with the food and beverage trade in Brisbane since the 1950s when they opened a fish and chip shop on Caxton St. The Gambaro Seafood Restaurant on the ground floor of the hotel has been on the site since 1972.


Perth Red

Is this the first time the NRL has made an investment?
It invested in its digital arm, till Vlandys closed it down.
You could argue the grants to the club are an investment as they help produce the NRL's revenue.
But as far as tangible assets go, apart from NRLHQ, yes I think so.

Wonder what the annual profit of a hotel is to show a ROI on $25mill?
The Sydney Morning Herald had a similar story on it also (source: https://www.smh.com.au/business/com...-the-way-as-deals-hit-2b-20220704-p5ayxu.html), below is the relevant part of the article (note, it was in the Business section in the hard copy paper, and on their website) -

NRL-themed hotel on the way as deals hit $2b​

Carolyn Cummins

By Carolyn Cummins

July 6, 2022 — 7.20am

Private developer Iris Capital and the governing body of the National Rugby League have splashed out on two major hotel and pub assets that will push total national sales in the sector close to the $2 billion mark in what has been a busy buying spree.

There have been 54 pub and hotel sales across NSW in the six months to June 30, worth $1.1 billion and adding in interstate deals, it will push the sales ahead of the record levels seen during the pandemic-hit last two years.

HTL Property, which has completed about 70 per cent of the NSW deals since January, worth around $700 million, said investors and owner operators were vying for assets that offer higher-yielding returns with development potential and growth in land values.

HTL’s managing director of the Asia-Pacific region, Andrew Jolliffe, said there was a resilience in the “hospitality indexed property market”.

In Brisbane, the Australian Rugby League Commission, which runs the NRL, has weighed into the hotel property sector with the purchase of the Gambaro Hotel on Caxton Street for a reported $30 million.

It is the first of what the NRL chairman Peter V’landys and chief executive Andrew Abdo have said recently are investment deals aimed at shoring up the future of the code.

“The ARLC has invested in the Gambaro’s hotel and restaurant as it is focused on strengthening its balance sheet with stable, secure investments that provide steady income and long-term capital growth,” its says in a media statement.

Under the deal, the popular hotel, which is just 300 metres from Suncorp Stadium on Caxton Street, has 68 rooms which the ARLC plans to re-theme into suites named after former Queensland rugby league players, such as Wally Lewis and Allan Langer.

Its award-winning seafood restaurant and popular bar will continue to be run by the Gambaro family under a deal with the rugby commission.