Espy Hotel to open doors once more
Live music landmark The Espy has reportedly sold to prolific pub owners, after being closed for almost two years.
Industry sources have told the Herald Sun Melbourne-based hospitality group Sand Hill Road has added the St Kilda hotel to its portfolio of inner-city venues, in a move that is expected to revitalise the 139-year-old pub.
Sand Hill Road co-founder Andy Mullins could not comment on the reported deal on Tuesday.
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The National Trust-listed building was offered for sale in February 2014 through commercial real estate agency Jones Lang Lasalle.
After the campaign ended without a transaction, the Esplanade Hotel closed its doors in May 2015 for extensive renovations.
It hasn’t reopened since, with delays in permit approval and objections from neighbours worried about extra noise from a proposed 145sq m rooftop terrace slowing progress.
Jones Lang Lasalle vice president of pub investment sales, Mathew George, says he cannot confirm the watering hole’s sale.
He says he didn’t receive a suitable offer when he had the listing three years ago, with some prospective buyers expressing concerns the pub was “too music-driven”.
“We had offers circling around $12 million, but we were holding out for in excess of $15 million,” he says.
“We couldn’t get anyone to buy it. Everyone we showed it to was a little bit hesitant about it.”
The popular venue has hosted high-profile acts such as Paul Kelly, Nick Cave, John Farnham and Public Enemy, and SBS music quiz show RocKwiz was also filmed there.
Sand Hill Road has “owned, developed and operated 10 different hotels” since being founded in 2000, its website says: “We sold a few venues off along the way and we have just launched our biggest project yet, Garden State Hotel, in Melbourne’s iconic Flinders Lane.”
The privately-owned hospitality group’s other venues include the Terminus Hotel in Abbotsford, the Prahran Hotel, and Richmond haunts Bridge Hotel, Holliava, The Posty and Richmond Club Hotel.
It’s also understood to have recently bought the Waterside Hotel on King St.