Meet the buyer behind Australia’s largest hotel transaction

(The Ribbon)

Back in April, we reported that private development and construction group Grocon had selected an unnamed Chinese consortium to buy the $700 million hotel development it proposed for Sydney’s Darling Harbour, to be called The Ribbon. Today, we have a name for the buyer.

Chinese group Tianlong Ribbon Property Unit Trust has been confirmed as the buyer of what The Australian is calling the country's largest hotel transaction. The deal was made between private developer Grocon, take-out party Tianlong Ribbon, government landowner Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority and U.S.-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

Tianlong Ribbon, whose parent company is Chinese investor Zhengtang, was advised by Ashurst lead partner John Stawyskyj, under the deal that will see the ­development of a 402-room W Sydney hotel. The deal involves a complex fund through structure, with Grocon to develop the hotel on land owned by SHFA with a long-term leasehold interest to be granted on completion of the development.

A further 159 luxury residences that are expected to be developed under the deal could be sold off by Tianlong Ribbon Property Unit Trust at a later stage in a move that could help fund the deal.

The sale will expand Grocon’s ties with Zhengtang, who purchased a $60-million site in the Sydney suburb of Epping last year from the developer.

Just last month, Starwood picked up the management rights to two new Four Points by Sheraton hotels in Sydney with an estimated 620 rooms between them, as well as a new Westin resort hotel to be developed on a Queensland beach. It will be the country's first beachfront Westin resort.