Popular Strand Venue ‘The Watermark Hotel’ Purchased by Southern Investor

Published on: 01/11/2023

The Watermark Townsville director Bart Furst with a seafood platter. Picture: Evan Morgan

A new landlord has opened the door to exciting possibilities for The Strand’s premier oceanfront restaurant and bar, the Watermark Hotel.

Located at 72-74 The Strand, North Ward, the Watermark has developed a strong reputation with its warm atmosphere, fresh seafood, and breathtaking views of Magnetic Island and Cleveland Bay attracting both locals and tourists.

Open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the busy operation employs 85 staff, seating 200 dinners, serving an average of 5000 to 6000 meals per week.

Interest in investing in Townsville shows no signs of waning after the freehold title of the Watermark was purchased by a southern-based investor for $5.25 million, with the sale settling on October 23.

For the past 17 months, the venue has been leased by Melbourne-based Kickon Group, which has been a prominent player in the hospitality industry for almost two decades, with eight venues across the country in its portfolio.

The space where the Watermark Hotel operates has been purchased for $5.25m by a southern investor. Picture: Burgess Rawson.
Watermark Director Bart Furst said the change of landlord paved the way for their “big plans ahead”.

“We’re looking at doing a renovation, tidy it up, and give it that little bit of extra love that it hasn’t had over the years so we can continue to keep providing those amazing experiences for the people at Townsville for many years to come,” Mr Furst said.

The Watermark Townsville director Bart Furst with staff member Lidia Koppe. Picture: Evan Morgan

The Watermark Townsville. Picture: Evan Morgan

Experiencing growth since taking over the business, he said it was being driven by a “huge amount of regulars” as well as school holidays, special occasions like Fathers Day, military operations like Talisman Sabre, and large-scale events like the Supercars.

He said their seafood platters and pizzas on the bar-side were popular, as were their locally-sourced steaks, which were recently listed by the Courier Mail as one of Queensland’s best.

The Watermark Townsville. Picture: Evan Morgan

Burgess Rawson partner Neville Smith said Townsville continued to be an attractive destination for investors. Picture: Evan Morgan

Burgess Rawson partner Neville Smith said they started marketing the Watermark in August, initially for auction before converting to an expressions of interest campaign.

He said they received a strong response, fielding 74 inquiries – a significant number given the $5 million price range.

“If you mentioned the Watermark Hotel, most in most publican circles, majority of the people know what we’re talking about … that’s what attracted the majority of the parties to the property,” Mr Smith said.

“The reason why the buyer came forward and purchased the property was not just the strength of the location but the tenant Kickon Group, their trading performance coming out of that site.”

Cairns Post, Leighton Smith


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