Justin Hemmes snaps up former Woolworths Metro in Sydney’s York St for $6.8m

Hemmes loves the potential of the corner site at 1/65 York St, Sydney.

Another bar and restaurant? Justin Hemmes has snapped up a former Woolworths Metro in a beautiful heritage building in Sydney’s CBD, paying $6.8m at auction.

The Merivale chief was there doing the bidding himself on Thursday morning for Shop 1, York St at auctioneer Damien Cooley’s rooms, instantly countering his opponent’s $6.3m opening bid with $100k more.

The pair exchanged several more $100k bids — with Hemmes always looking the winner with his fast and furious bids — before Cooley slammed the gavel down in his favour.

The real commercial ad cites the shop, currently owned by Woolworths, is in a “beautiful, refined heritage-listed building with prime retail corner positioning” and that it’s “just one of four comparable properties to be offered in the last 15 years”.


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Christmas party

Justin Hemmes, far right, at an event last week where police, industry and business figures met to turbocharge a month of Christmas partying in the CBD. Picture: Rohan Kelly

The shop is in a beautiful heritage-listed building.

What an entrance!

The Colliers sales agent, Callum Cooke, said Hemmes, whose firm already owns about 100 pubs, hotels and eateries around Australia, hadn’t decided what to do with the 314 sqm ground-floor space.

“But he thought it was a good corner position and that it was quite a good price,” Cooke said.

Cooke’s colleague, Joseph Lin who is the national director, Asia Markets for Colliers, thought the space would make a good restaurant.

The price is understood to have been above the reserve.

The 314 sqm space provides ample room for a decent-sized venue.

It offers a 13m street frontage to York & Barrack St.

The shop is in the same city block as Merivale’s Hotel CBD and just a short walk from his Ivy precinct in George St.

Subject to council approval, there’s nothing to stop the York St site being converted into a bar and restaurant space.

Although there are currently no cooking facilities, the realcommercial ad specifies it has an “adaptable floor place allowing a variety of ‘value-add’ strategies”; a functional cool-room and a well-maintained ventilation system.

It also offers a 13m street frontage to York & Barrack St.

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