Geelong buyers jump on home of Sam’s Cafe

Sam’s Cafe is an institution on Moorabool St, Geelong, famous for its shawarma.

Are the owners of Geelong’s Japanese food empire branching out from sushi rolls to shawarmas?

The couple behind the Hi Sushi restaurants emerged as the buyers of a Moorabool St freehold property that’s home to a landmark Lebanese cafe.

The two shops at 204-206 Moorabool St, Geelong, sold at auction last Thursday for $1.4m.

It was offered to the market for the first time in 43 years.

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The 312sq m property and its classic Art Deco building has two street frontages, with Sam’s Cafe holding a 10-year lease at 206 Moorabool St, paying $30,000 per year, plus GST and outgoings.

David Cortous calls for bids at the auction at 204-206 Moorabool St, Geelong.

The neighbouring shop is vacant, but has a projected $40,000 annual rent, based on the 112sq m footprint, plus a 65sq m mezzanine.

Three bidders contested the auction, including an investor on the phone from Brisbane.

The underbidder travelled from Melton and remains on the lookout to invest in CBD commercial property.

The buyers confirmed the purchase was as an investment.

The buyers emerged late in the auction at 204-206 Moorabool St, Geelong.

“I think in Geelong more people coming to the area and property prices keep on going up and it’s good for an investment,” he said.

Mr Cortous said the property, which sat within a heritage overlay protecting the historic Moorabool St shopfronts was prime, blue chip CBD property.

“One title, two shops, the famous Sam’s Café is on a long-term lease and has been here for many, many years. They’re the shawarma kings of Geelong.” he said.

“The property has been held in the same family for 43 years, so when you talk about the time you hold real estate, it certainly does not get more tightly held.”

Mr Cortous said the property sold when it reached the $1.4m reserve price.