ORANGE'S iconic Hotel Canobolas will have new owners from the end of this month.
The Sukkar family, which owns construction giant Buildcorp, in partnership with hospitality firm The Point Group, has secured the historic building on the corner of Lords Place and Summer Street for an undisclosed sum.
Selling agent Leonard Bongiovanni, from Manenti Quinlan, did reveal it was a record for the area.
He said the business, which has 14 poker machines, was not sold on the open market.
"While we can't be drawn on price I can confirm it was a record for the area," he said.
"The Robin Hood sold for $18 million, I'd say it well exceeds that."
Buildcorp's Mark Tonkin, who managed the transaction on behalf of major partners the Sukkar family and The Point Group, said the new owners would take over on November 29.
In the short term, it would be business as usual at the pub.
"But we do have some tentative plans to give it a new lease of life," Mr Tonkin said.
"It will probably start with the ground floor bar and bistro area and then proceed to level one, the ballroom, conference rooms and bars and then the accommodation.
"The master plan in our heads is that we retain as much as possible of the original heritage features of the building. We're not about to give a facelift that changes its identity."
A long term visitor to Orange, Mr Tonkin said he'd always admired the Hotel Canobolas, which was opened in 1939 by Tooheys.
"When I got an inkling it was for sale, because it wasn't officially on the market, I thought this is a very good asset, Orange is very strong town, the region's a very strong region," Mr Tonkin said.
"I thought it was a good opportunity for the Sukkar family to have a long-term investment, something outside of construction".
The Hotel Canobolas has been owned by hotelier Arthur Laundy in partnership with Mark Dalton and Philip Tudor since 2003.
"We feel very privileged to have owned such an iconic Hotel," Mr Tudor said in a statement.
"The decision to sell was not one that our families made lightly but we are excited about the opportunities this presents for our staff and the community.
"We welcome the Sukkar family to Orange and look forward to remaining involved with the local community through our other businesses.
"A sincere thank you to the city of Orange, cheers."
Mr Tonkin said the current staff would be kept.
"The staff are number one. One of the existing staff members will become the licensee and general manager," he said.
"We want to be an active participant of the business community and contribute to the prosperity of the town and the greater region. We want to be part of the fabric of Orange and the central west."
Mr Bongiovanni agreed there was a growing interest in country pubs.
"I think for so long people viewed metropolitan hotels as being the cream but they're now seeing that regional hotels are just as popular," he said.
"They serve their community just as well as any other hotel and I think the pandemic has shown that people travel to regions. We've got a strong state and there's a lot of it to see.
"Orange has always been one of the stellar towns."