The family tradition of the Schwartz family owning property, including hotels, can only be a good thing for Australia, writes Brad Foster.
With the talk of Australia being overrun by offshore investors it has to be a good thing that local cosmetic surgeon, Dr Jerry Schwartz, is continuing on where his father and mother left off and growing the family property portfolio.
In-between a hectic schedule he told micenet AUSTRALIA that owning and running hotels, like the Rydges World Square in central Sydney, is a legacy started by his father who first developed apartment blocks, then shopping centres, and later accommodation hotels.
“After his death, my mother and I expanded the hotel portfolio, which continued to expand when she passed away in 2005,” he says.
“I purchased my first property from all the money I made [working] overtime when I was an intern at Sydney Hospital. Then I bought into three pubs at the time my father was buying full accommodation hotels.”
He now owns 12 properties which include the Rydges World Square, The Sebel Surry Hills, ibis Hotel World Square, Mercure Sydney and Mercure Canberra, The Holiday Inn Sydney, The Victoria Hotel Melbourne, Crowne Plaza Newcastle, Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains, EconoLodge Sydney South, and the Novotel Newcastle Beach. (Visit www.schwartz.com.au/hotels for an updated list).
Despite working long hours in the medical field he is committed and passionate about the hotel business, with a reputation for being a hands-on owner.
He says that while some people may call his approach a little bit “anal”, he says he draws a great amount of pleasure in maximising the facilities in his hotels “and giving each hotel features which make them all special”.
“Also, controlling the capital improvements of several properties gives me the experience and opportunities, sort of like buying `in bulk’,” he says.
A case in point is the expansion of the conference facilities at the Rydges World Square.
“When I first purchased this hotel, then called the Avillion, the conferencing facilities were too small compared with the size of the hotel and its prominent position.
“We managed to add a few extra conference rooms, and the demand for such facilities has only continued to grow. With some lateral designing, we are able to expand the size of the ballroom to be almost double in size – we are looking at 500 plus theatre-style and 350 banquet-style – and we feel that with the temporary closure of the Sydney Convention Centre, there is an immediate need for conferencing facilities in central Sydney.”
Aside from hotels and his cosmetic surgery practice, Dr Schwartz heads the Schwartz Foundation, a charity organisation that was established by he and his mother in memory of his late father. The organisation makes donations to many medical and dental causes, with beneficiaries including the creation of a lecture theatre at the Sydney Dental Hospital and sponsorship of dental fellows.
“As far as hotels go we run a charity called `Room for Hope’.For details go to www.schwartzfoundation.com.”
Next on the agenda for Dr Schwartz are plans to build a brewery in Newcastle.