No white knight for The Sando as the iconic Sydney pub looks set to go to developers

The Sando is likely to be redeveloped into apartments after the pub’s owner failed to find a buyer or partner to save the iconic live music pub, which went into receivership in July with a debt to Bankwest of $3.6 million.

Expressions of interest closed yesterday for Sydney’s Sandringham Hotel, immortalised by The Whitlams in the songs God Drinks at the Sando and Blow Up the Pokies.

Even support from the great and good in the music industry failed to save The Sando despite a free concert in Martin Place earlier this week to draw attention to the pub’s plight fronted by Mark Evans, formerly of AC/DC, Mark Gable of The Choirboys and Doc Neeson of The Angels.

Tony Townsend, owner of The Sando, told SmartCompany a number of rallies had been held to draw attention to the pub’s plight but expressions of interest had closed and he is not aware of any offers.

“We were not able to uncover the white knight, unfortunately,” says Townsend.

“We have tried a number of times to bring the bank to the table and we have actually made a few offers to the bank and at this point of time they are going to take it to due process.”

Townsend claims The Sando was highly leveraged at around 65% when Bankwest (which was taken over by the Commonwealth Bank) called in its facility and gave him seven days to pay $3.2 million.

“I was very upset by some of the things that were said by Commonwealth Bank and the receivers as they were misleading to say the least; things like we never paid or defaulted on paying our interest, that was just not true,” he says.

“Until the bank sent its letter of demand on we paid every single interest payment, the only default we had was a loan value ratio default which is a minor default.”

Townsend says he ran a “very tight business” but it was very marginal and once the receivers, Ferrier Hodgson, were called in it was very difficult to save the business.

“We’ve worked through a number of solutions since that letter of demand but it’s very difficult when you have a scenario of interest jumping from $16,000 to $48,000 per month plus other costs, such as the receiver’s costs and legal costs,” he says.

“It’s just a recipe for disaster, especially when you put your hand out to the bank and said we are in trouble, we need you to give us a hand, that’s the sort of hand we got given.”


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