Panthers Group, owners of reigning NRL premiers the Penrith Panthers, is hoping to create a world-class hotel and events hub in Western Sydney after striking a deal with accommodation giant Accor to bring its five-star Pullman brand to Penrith.
The 153-room Pullman Sydney Penrith is due to open its doors in about a year’s time as part of the $1 billion redevelopment of the vast 60ha Penrith Panthers sports, hospitality and entertainment precinct on Mulgoa Road.
Accor Hotels Pacific CEO Sarah Derry with Panthers CEO Brian Fletcher at the Penrith Club on Monday Oscar Colman
Demand for accommodation is expected to be underpinned by the adjoining 1000-person Western Sydney Conference Centre also being developed by the not-for-profit Panthers Group – one of the country’s biggest club operators – as well from sporting events and local tourism.
Both the hotel and conference centre are under construction – at a cost of $110 million – and due to open in the fourth quarter of 2023.
Alongside these two hospitality projects, a new 30,000-seater stadium is being developed by the NSW government on the site of the neighbouring Penrith harness raceway. There’s also an 850-unit residential quarter underway by local developer Cabe, while Royce Manor, a retirement village, has just been completed.
“The idea behind this precinct and the new hotel and convention centre is to build a little city around a big club,” Panthers CEO Brian Fletcher told The Australian Financial Review.
“We have 11 restaurants in and around the club, there will be a new stadium across the road by 2025, and the Western Sydney airport [opening in 2026] is just 20 minutes away.
“There are no other five-star hotel facilities in the area.”
Mr Fletcher anticipated the convention centre and hotel could be worth between $180 million and $200 million once the facilities are firing on all cylinders – just like its NRL side, which has won two premierships in a row and played in the past three grand finals.
However, he stressed the future success of the hotel and convention centre was “separate to that of the team”.
“As a business it must stand on its own two feet,” Mr Fletcher said.
For Accor, the country’s biggest hotel operator, a Pullman hotel in Penrith, will give it a further foothold in the Western Sydney accommodation market, which is not well serviced by luxury hotels.
“Western Sydney is going through a significant growth period, especially in Penrith, which is enjoying a tourism and infrastructure boom through the new airport. It really is the engine room of Sydney,” Accor Pacific CEO Sarah Derry told the Financial Review.
An artist impression of the Pullman Hotel and convention centre which will open towards the end of 2023. 
The Pullman Penrith will add to 18 Pullman hotels already operated by Accor in key locations around the country, including the Pullman on the Park near the Melbourne Cricket Ground and a Pullman at Olympic Park in Sydney, where Accor secured the naming rights to the main stadium last November.
Ms Derry said expanding its luxury and lifestyle hotel brands in Australia was part of Paris-based Accor’s global strategy.
“These segments are bouncing back faster than others due to their good F&B offering,” she said.
The announcement of the Pullman Sydney Penrith adds to an already strong line-up of new hotels Accor will open in Australia over the next few years including a So Melbourne, Mondrian Gold Coast and 25hours Sydney.
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