Chinese investor sinks teeth into Dracula’s

Dracula’s features a fully serviced theatre.

A Melbourne-based Chinese investor has paid more than $10 million for the home of Australia’s longest-running theatre restaurant – Dracula’s Cabaret Show & Dinner in Melbourne.

The Carlton venue, which closed its doors for the final time in December last year, entertained tens of thousands of patrons for 37 years at the 100 Victoria St site, and for the last 28 years has been owned by cabaret stalwarts the Newman family.

As reported by Realcommercial, the building was offered in its original cabaret condition, with much of the Dracula’s fitout still remaining from its showtime days.

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Developers, investors and hospitality operators figured among those who vied for the property throughout its expressions of interest campaign, however the Chinese buyer – a first-time entrant into the Australian market – swooped hardest.

The venue looks almost exactly the same as it did in its operational days.

CBRE’s Josh Rutman, who marketed Dracula’s with Mark Wizel and JJ Heng, says the venue’s position made it one of the most hotly contested campaigns of the year.

“The level of participation was very strong, but the origins of these bids were even more telling, with student accommodation developers, high net worth privates who live in the area, local hospitality operators and Asian investors and developers vying for a slice of Carlton land,” Rutman says.

“Despite considerable interest from significant property investors with holdings in the precinct, a first-time entrant to the Melbourne commercial property market was the eventual purchaser, acquiring the historic building on a short settlement with no due diligence just one week after the close of the campaign.”

Dracula's Melbourne cabaret

The property was purchased by a Melbourne-based Chinese investor.

The sale price reflected a yield of around 3% and a record Carlton land rate of about $21,600 per square metre.

The property, at the corner of Cardigan and Victoria streets, features the theatre, multiple access points, a full line commercial kitchen and an activated rooftop, in addition to a late night liquor licence.

On a 480sqm block, the building in its current form has 900sqm of floorspace, though its future for now remains unclear. Its eight-level height limit lends the site to development, though it could be reinvigorated as a hospitality venue.