Ascott, Quest strike Docklands deal in Melbourne

Quest NewQuay Docklands

THE Ascott Limited is acquiring its first serviced residence in Docklands, Melbourne as part of its A$500 million (US$380 million) strategic partnership with Australia’s Quest Apartment Hotels.

The 221-unit property will be acquired for A$71 million through a 50:50 joint venture launched in July 2015 between Ascott and Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).

The property will be operated under Quest’s franchise and named Quest NewQuay Docklands when the property opens in 2019. Quest NewQuay Docklands will be the largest property in Quest’s portfolio.

Through the Ascott-Quest alliance formed in late-2014, Ascott will invest up to A$500 million in new properties that Quest will secure for its franchise in Australia until 2019. In addition, Ascott has acquired a 20 per cent stake in Quest, with an option to increase it to 30 per cent.

Ascott’s real estate investment trust, Ascott Residence Trust, also acquired three operating serviced residences in Greater Sydney from Quest. Quest Sydney Olympic Park, Quest Campbelltown and Quest Mascot are being operated under franchises by Quest.

The strategic partnership will combine both companies’ strengths – Ascott’s focus on prime city centre locations plus Quest’s suburban locations with underserved demand – to tap the potential of the Australian serviced residence sector, said Ascott’s CEO Lee Chee Koon.

He added: “This property in Melbourne is our first acquisition in Australia in partnership with QIA and our fourth within a span of seven months. The four acquisitions have expanded our portfolio across four gateway cities. We expect these strong partnerships to gather more momentum as we pursue Ascott’s target of 80,000 apartment units globally by 2020.”

Paul Constantinou, chairman of Quest Apartment Hotels, said: “Our partnership with Ascott will fast-track our plans to grow the Quest network to about 200 properties in Australia and New Zealand by the end of the decade. We are actively sourcing for opportunities particularly across the CBD and suburban areas of Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.”

In Australia, Ascott currently manages five serviced residences with more than 670 apartment units in Melbourne, Perth and Hobart under the Citadines and Somerset brands. Quest has more than 150 properties with over 8,000 existing units in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, and a further 1,500 units under construction.

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