Prominent Sydney hotelier and real estate investor Andrew Lazarus believes that improving the community should be the role of every business owner.
Owning a property that increases in value and sales is essential, but having the property improve the community is critical, Lazarus says. Lazarus has spent considerable time restoring beautiful buildings in Sydney, Newcastle, and the Central Coast area. These restorations have made the property more profitable and have helped the community.
One example is Lazarus’s approach to the Newcastle Beach Hotel, referred to as The Beaches. Lazarus and his son and business partner, Luke Lazarus, bought the Art Deco structure overlooking Merewether Beach in 2019 but have waited until they have a sense of what locals value before renovating. Andrew Lazarus says renovations will begin this year; however, he also has been sure to reinstate the locals’ favorite pastimes: the weekend seafood spread and trivia and dancing on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.
Renovations add life to the properties and to the communities surrounding them, he says. Andrew and Luke Lazarus encourage other real estate investors to consider the community patrons when determining how to renovate and manage the property.
“Sometimes new owners tend to see only their vision for the property,” they say. “We’ve learned from both a business and community perspective that waiting and observing what the community desires are important. Owners must be open to changing their vision.”
Andrew and Luke Lazarus also use their hotel ventures to participate in community and philanthropic events. They say employees are more likely to volunteer on behalf of the community when they see that their leaders support the community.
During his more than 30 years in the real estate industry, Andrew Lazarus has been involved in several high-profile projects, in addition to The Beaches.
One high-profile project was the sales of the Lazarus family home, Vaucluse, off-market to Jordana and Roby Sharon-Zipser in 2018. The Lazarus family had owned the $8 million home for more than two decades. The house included five bedrooms and four baths. Also on the property are a cabana, swimming pool, and outdoor entertainment area.
Another high-profile investment is the Exchange Hotel. Lazarus bought The Exchange Hotel in Hamilton in 2016. He spent $6 million in 2020 to turn it into a live music venue.
Lazarus bought the $25 million Macquarie Hotel in 2015 when it was already undergoing renovations. The JDA Hotels group had owned the Liverpool Hotel for the past three decades before Lazarus bought it, and it has been a top gaming pub. Lazarus jumped into Sydney’s development boom in the outer west in buying the hotel.
Shoal Bay Country Club
In 2016, Lazarus purchased the Shoal Bay Country Club for an estimated $18 million. Two years later, he spent $6 million to renovate the waterfront property into a high-class, family-friendly space. Now the location offers pub and outdoor seating, live music, beautiful views, and seafood and bistro foods.
The Legacy Continues
Andrew and Luke Lazarus continue to invest in hotel properties and renovate them with community interests and profits in mind. Currently, they are focusing on projects in the Newcastle and Central Coast area. Sydney has become very expensive and competitive. “Now we have three hotels in the Newcastle and Central Coast area, so we will focus our attentions here for a while,” Andrew Lazarus says.