Jayco Founder Expands Empire
Jayco founder Gerry Ryan has just expanded his hotel empire, with the launch of Hubert Estate in the historic St Hubert winery in the Yarra Valley.
It’s the first part of a $70 million winery and hotel complex, and saw the conversion of a former tin tasting room into a cellar door, wine store, restaurant, event space and Indigenous art gallery. Later this year, construction of an 80-room hotel and wellness centre on the site will commence.
Ryan lives in Nagambie, Vic, where he purchased and developed the Nagambie Lakes Recreation Park and Mitchelton Winery, a project so large locals nicknamed it Gerry Town. He says he has no intention of moving to the Yarra Valley from his Nagambie property, Limerick Lane, and that Hubert Estate is purely a business matter.
“They call me Bob the Builder,” Ryan said. “I like to build things and develop them. We have always looked around for quality properties that can offer something different.”
Ryan’s hotel interests, run by his son, Andy, include the Prince Hotel in St Kilda, Mitchelton Winery and now Hubert Estate. He also owns production company Global Creatures, which is behind red Mill musical comedy. The show takes place in Melbourne, New York, London and Chicago, and will open in Germany, South Korea and Japan later this year.
Ryan said high-end hospitality and theater was not too different from the caravan holiday business where he made his money. Already Australia’s largest RV manufacturer, Jayco has boomed during the pandemic and now employs around1500 people. Despite a substantial order backlog the company is continuing to release new models and is a major exhibitor at Australia’s capital city RV shows. Ryan is also a well known philanthropist and major sponsor of Australia’s only professional cycling team – Bike Exchange – having retired from operations at Jayco in 2015.