Andrew and Luke Lazarus Sell El Toro Motor Inn for circa $70 million

Whether they’ve been keyed into the inner workings of Sydney’s real estate industry or not, the name Andrew Lazarus probably rings clearly to locals. Lazarus is a publican and prominent businessman, an expert in the hospitality industry with decades of experience operating hotels, entertainment venues, and other commercial properties. 

A headlining name for his work in Australia’s luxury real estate industry, Andrew and his son Luke Lazarus has spent the past thirty years operating in and around Sydney and Newcastle. Through their efforts, Andrew and Luke have played a role in developing prominent buildings, new pubs, and long-standing hotels.

Recently, Andrew and Luke made headline news for selling El Toro Hotel and Motel at Warwick Farm to Colin Parras for circa $70 million. This follows the acquisition of the El Toro Hotel for $24 million in 2015. The sale of the property invited both scrutiny and buzz as the Lazarus duo found themselves under the microscope.

Let’s take a closer look at the work done by Luke and Andrew Lazarus up to and including their latest business dealings.

Acquiring El Toro Motor Inn

El Toro Motor Inn was purchased from the Lantern Hotel Group for $24 million through Jones Lang LaSalle under controversial circumstances with shareholders in the ASX listed Lantern Group not happy with the sale. The sale was confirmed by the Australian Stock Exchange on July 17th and it sent shockwaves throughout the region as shareholders were blown away by the acquisition. Investors would go on to boycott Lantern Groups stock by selling significant numbers of shares. 

Andrew Lazarus stated in response to the outcry, “To argue that the hotel is worth significantly more (without taking the risk of obtaining zoning and licensing approvals) is nonsense.” Any upgrades, renovations, or demolitions will be made consistent with the limited zoning and developmental opportunities afforded to the location. Lazarus added in an interview that the location would need a ton of work, “Let alone the fact that the aging building needs a massive renovation, if not demolition, to change the hotel’s downward trading trend.”

Lazarus was able to deliver a number of successful renovations resulting in large upside when selling the venue to Mr Parras.  

Issues With the Hotel Sale 

The shareholders of the Lantern Hotel Group were less-than-impressed with the terms of the sale and were strongly against its sale. Graeme Campbell, group managing director for the business, stated, “We’re still getting finalized legal advice on the matter.”

Lazarus stated in an interview, “We have struck a binding contract with Lantern. We are concerned that some are questioning that fact, because of Lantern’s internal issues.”

Andrew closed his comments by stating, “We look forward to completing the transaction and providing Lantern a good return for their asset.”

The El Toro Hotel and Motel features 29 gaming machines and 55 total hotel rooms for rent.

The Lazarus strategy on Pubs  

Andrew and his son Luke have spent much of their time focused on the coastal areas in regions surrounding Newcastle and Sydney. Focusing on sweeping vistas, idealized locations, and a focus on communities, the Lazarus duo have found success in their local communities.

By focusing on the potential of unloved properties, Andrew and Luke Lazarus made an offer consistent with their goal of renovating, if not demolishing entire sites. 

Focused on Community Rejuvenation

A prominent businessman from Sydney, life wasn’t always easy for Andrew and Luke Lazarus. In fact, finding success in the hospitality industry required a level of effort and a willingness to fail that many are not built to withstand.

With over thirty years of professional industry experience, Andrew Lazarus has developed into a successful philanthropist and hotelier with numerous locations throughout the country.

Focusing on the importance of community rejuvenation, Lazarus would set his sights on several good projects for the region, including the Macquarie Hotel, Shoal Bay Country Club, his Vaucluse Home development and the Beach Hotel in Merewether.

No matter where you go in the region, locals turn to pubs as a place for communal entertainment and support. Andrew Lazarus knows the importance of pubs as a major publican himself, stating, “The key to a successful pub operation is delivering the best possible offering for the community, what offering delivers on their specific wants and needs”

Community engagement has always been imperative to Andrew and his son Luke Lazarus and that has been a big reason why they’ve been so successful. Luke added to his father’s statement, “Before taking on any develpments of a pub, we engage with the community, understand them as people as well undertake considerable research into demographics, current and future needs, etcetera” 

Leading the Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow

Despite his many successes in the industry, Lazarus knows that there are places and times in his past when he could have done a better job. To provide more opportunities to those seeking to learn from his mistakes, Lazarus offered up some key insights during an interview with Ideamensch.

Lazarus opined that his younger self would benefit in several ways. He focused on good communication as being fundamental to leading teams “Communication is key. This has always been my area of improvement, but as time goes on I continue to see just how important it is.”

As he has continued to grow and thrive within the real estate and hospitality space, Andrew has increasingly understood the importance of making a concerted effort to start the day right. Lazarus stated in an interview that much of success day starts with a good morning routine. 

Lazarus stated in an interview, “Win the first hour of your day and you win the whole day. I find that when I skip my morning routine I have lower energy and concentration than when I wake up and make the most of my morning.”

No matter how you start your morning or aim to make your day productive, Andrew Lazarus suggests taking time to really engage with your finances. By understanding your finances, you can make better decisions to propel you toward your goals and choice of success in life.

Lazarus defined what success means by saying, “My definition of success is achieving your financial goals while enjoying yourself, having fun, and giving back.”

To entrepreneurs looking to follow in his footsteps, Lazarus really suggests finding teammates that make you better by skills and traits that you do not possess. Lazarus said, “If you have hired well, the members of your team will make decisions in their field of expertise better than you will.”


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