Economy

John Singleton’s pub group buys iconic Sydney hotel

Larry Schlesinger /

The private equity-backed Riversdale Group has bought the landmark Marlborough Hotel in Newtown, Sydney, for $12,175,000 at auction today.

The hotel bears a distinctive Art Deco façade but has a trading history dating back 150 years.

Investors in the pubs acquired by the Riversdale Group include advertising mogul John Singleton, former Qantas boss Geoff Dixon and banker Mark Carnegie.

The group now owns and operates seven pubs in Sydney,with Riversdale Group co-founder and chief executive Patrick Coughlan saying the group is looking to grow its portfolio to $150 million.

Floating of the distressed pub portfolio has also been mooted.

Coughlan says the purchase of the hotel continued with its strategy of “securing the best pub, in the best position, in some of Sydney’s best suburbs”.

He told Fairfax Media the Marlborough would undergo a renovation with the group looking at a few other potential acquisitions.

The pub was part of a $20 million auction of commercial properties conducted by Damien Cooley, director of Cooley Auctions, in Sydney today.

It was marketed by Knight Frank’s Mike Wheatley, who told Property Observer he was “delighted” with the sale price.

“We marketed it in the $11 million to $12 million range.”

Known by locals as “The Marly” the hotel stands at 145 King Street (on the corner of King Street and Missenden Road) – the popular entertainment and retail strip in Newtown in Sydney’s inner west.

The hotel was offered for auction for the first time in 27 years.

“The sale of such a landmark hotel is extremely encouraging for the market and a sign of good things to come this spring,” said Cooley.

A week ago, another Newtown drinking hole, the Bank Hotel, was sold to Bruce Solomon’s Solotel Group for a reported $11.8 million.

The Australian reported that Geoff Dixon has taken a direct stake in the hotel and already has stakes in Bellevue Hotel in Paddington.

The other pubs in the portfolio are The Toxteth in Glebe, The Peakhurst Inn in Peakhurst, The Unity Hall Hotel in Balmain, The Standard in Surry Hills, Kinselas and Lo-Fi in Darlinghurst and the soon-to-be launched The Workers bar, also in Balmain.

Former prime minister Bob Hawke will launch the upstairs bar at the Unity Hall Hotel in a few week’s time, reported The Australian Financial Review.

The Marly incorporates Marly Bar, Bar Prego, Level One Bar, The Cellar, The Deck and the Marly Bottle Shop.

For advice on navigating hotspots, download our free eBook: Tools for Getting Through the Hotspot Maze. This article first appeared on Property Observer.

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