Record price makes hotel boss as happy as Harry
By LEE McDOUGALL
THREE years ago Malcolm McGuiness and Kim Stapleton took a punt that the Plantation Hotel would be a good investment and that gamble has paid off ? in spades!
The Planto, as it is affectionately referred to by locals, has been sold to The Hotel Group for a record $18.5 million, providing a handsome return to the owners.
"They didn't pay much when they bought the pub in March, 2003," licensee Harry Barry said yesterday.
Mr Barry has been the 'face' of the Planto for three years, and is commonly, incorrectly, thought of as the owner.
"The owners asked me to come up and suggest how to renovate the pub just after they bought it," Mr Barry said.
"I came and looked at it and was a bit alarmed at the work that would be required."
Mr Barry quickly set about spending several months and $3 million renovating the Planto in 2003, with that investment now paying off for the owners.
"This ($18.5 million) is the highest figure ever paid for a country pub in NSW," Mr Barry said.
"It's a great thing for the city. Coffs Harbour has made this pub the success it is. It was a big punt when they bought it but now we are flying."
Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce president Sonja Wallis said the $18.5 million price tag was 'phenomenal'.
"This is confirmation of the confidence in the Coffs Harbour market," Ms Wallis said.
"People throughout Australia are looking for business investment, and they are looking at Coffs Harbour."
The Hotel Group officially takes over on Monday. The company has bought eight pubs in NSW in the past 12 months and own 40 pubs throughout NSW and Queensland.