Creswick's Novotel Forest Resort for sale

THE Novotel Forest Resort in Creswick is for sale following a three-year multi-million dollar court battle. 

Last Saturday, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels and Hospitality Group listed an expression of interest for the 144-room hotel, upmarket golf course and surrounding residential land on their website. 

The resort has already gained considerable market interest, but Jones Lang was remaining tight-lipped on the number of buyers that have taken an interest in the property. 

“There are people showing interest ... we’ve had investors and other hotel groups show interest,” real estate agent Mathew George said.

Jones Lang could not reveal the value of the property at this stage.

The announcement comes three years after Ballarat entrepreneurs Jim and Joan Walsh lodged a $168 million lawsuit in the Victorian Supreme Court.

The Walshes claimed some project investors failed to make funds available for the development of the resort. 

The court was told the builder had walked off the project as a result. 

It was also told negative publicity had deterred future developers from buying into the project.

It is understood court proceedings have now ended and the Walsh family is no longer involved in the development. 

Jones Lang said the FTI Consulting firm was now acting as controller of the resort’s assets.

“That means we’re appointed by the company in control of the assets to sell the property,” Mr George said. 

Novotel Forest Resort Creswick general manager Jessie Sheehan could not comment on the future of the business. 

She also could not reveal whether Novotel had withdrawn as host of the Victorian PGA Championships because of the prospective sale of the resort. 

Novotel Resort pulled out of hosting the PGA Championships this year, despite being contracted to host the golf tournament in 2015 and 2016. 

Jones Lang said the expressions of interest for the property will close on February 28, unless sold prior. 

FTI Consulting did not respond to the The Courier’s calls before deadline.