Veriu Green Square is located two stops on the train from the Sydney CBD.

Accommodation company The Veriu Group has announced that it will open four new apartment hotels in Victoria over the next two years as it seeks to grow the business to become a national operator.

The Group will introduce its first two Victorian Veriu Hotels – Veriu Collingwood and Veriu Queen Victoria Market – later this year, while two new apartment hotels – Punthill Essendon North and Punthill Geelong – are expected to open in August 2022 and May 2024 respectively.

“We’re delighted to be adding the new properties to our existing apartment hotels portfolio,” said Veriu Group CEO, Zed Sanjana.

“Each one is specifically situated to take advantage of substantial key catchment areas, which are currently relatively underserviced in terms of quality corporate accommodation.

“Like all properties in our Group, they are ideally positioned to be able to provide both corporate and leisure guests with premium accommodation in vibrant and convenient locations.”

The new sites signal the beginning of what the company says will be “a significant period of expansion” for the Group. Construction of a further five properties is set to commence in the second half of 2022 bringing the Group’s portfolio to almost 1,320 rooms and apartments operating or in development across 20 sites.

The Veriu Group is expected to grow by an additional 10 properties by 2025.

“We see a huge opportunity to become one of Australia’s largest niche hotel operators, while still maintaining a unique and localised feel at each of our properties,” Sanjana said

“With that comes the prospect of increased business for the local communities in which we operate, and we look forward to working with both local government and commercial stakeholders to effectively implement this infrastructure.”

Underserviced market

Sanjana believes the Australian accommodation market has been consistently undersupplied for a number of years, particularly when it comes to upscale and design-driven apartment hotels in key corporate locations.

“We believe that business travellers are increasingly looking for more unique and localised accommodation experiences within these corporate hubs,” he said.

“Our network expansion is focused on bringing more unique and interesting accommodation options to CBD, suburban and regional markets, in locations underpinned by the business travel segment, supported by business and industrial parks, universities, hospitals and major infrastructure projects.”

He says demand from the development community for both the Veriu and Punthill brands continues to be strong, in spite of the challenges of the last two years.

“I think the last couple of years have demonstrated the resilience of our long-term lease structure and underpinned the importance of the apartment hotel asset class in favour of traditional hotels,” he said.

“Our portfolio has demonstrated that apartments can be deployed for a multitude of uses, whether that be for medical, crisis, quarantine or traditional rental residential accommodation, whereas the traditional hotel model, like student accommodation, has proven to have limited alternate uses.

“We’ve now built a really strong pipeline of new greenfield properties, backed by our long-term secured lease structure which provides developers and their financiers with greater income certainty than traditional Hotel Management Agreements used in the sector.”

Victorian properties

The first Victorian Veriu Apartment Hotel will be the 110-room Veriu Queen Victoria Market – located adjacent to the iconic Melbourne market. Veriu Collingwood will be a 95-room property with New York Soho-inspired architecture, while the 40-apartment Punthill Essendon North offers a mix of studio and one-bedroom apartments.

An artist’s impression of Punthill Geelong

The 15-level Punthill Geelong will be the Group’s first regional offering, and will feature 80 studio apartments, designed to accommodate both solo and group business travellers.

“We are increasingly seeing the emergence of suburban and regional hubs comprising mixed-use development, combining office and co-working spaces, with food and beverage, residential, and retail offerings,” Sanjana said.

“We believe that short or long-term accommodation is going to play an integral role in servicing these commercial and office hubs and will also assist developers in attracting good quality tenants, customers, and residential renters or buyers who see the benefits of a locally self-contained centre from an end-to-end amenity perspective.”