Nightclub days over for Geelong’s Eureka Hotel

Geelong’s Eureka Hotel is set to be redeveloped.
Geelong’s Eureka Hotel is set to be redeveloped.

The Eureka Hotel’s days as a nightclub are over after buyers revealed a proposal to subdivide the venue in Geelong’s trendy Lt Malop St west end cafe strip.

Prominent Geelong property investor and developer Bill Votsaris on Tuesday said he was part of a local consortium that bought the pub from flamboyant former mayor and business identity Darryn Lyons.

Real estate agent Simon Jarman, from Geelong West agency Darcy Jarman, brokered the deal, which Jarman says was close to the $3.6 million asking price.

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Votsaris says the group shared a vision and thought that one less nightclub in the CBD was a good idea.

They are evaluating how best to reactivate the building, he says.

Geelong Eureka Hotel

The Eureka Hotel is a prominent building in the west end cafe precinct on Geelong’s Lt Malop St.

“It certainly won’t be a single venue. Like across the road, in a similar footprint building there are half a dozen businesses in there.

“But we definitely have discounted the prospect of the Eureka coming back has a single venue. It’s just too big.”

Votsaris says the size of the pub — it’s licensed for 1000 people to 5am — is one of the reasons the venue ultimately closed.

He says the group had consulted Gartland Property director Michael De Stefano and architects about how they could alter the building.

Eureka Hotel Geelong

Last drinks at the Eureka were at a farewell function in November last year.

“We want to move pretty fast and certainly see this site transformed this year.”

The Eureka Hotel is one of the largest properties on Lt Malop St strip between Moorabool and Gheringhap streets, with a combined floorspace of 1537sq m.

Dubbed the west end, contractors recently completed a streetscape upgrade as part of the Revitalising Central Geelong project.

Votsaris says the council still needs to address vehicle access and garbage storage and collection to the pedestrian-friendly strip, which includes laneways like Shorts Pl, Dennys Pl and McLarty Pl.

The enclave was in demand for business operators, he says.

“We have a lot of inquiry from people that have successful businesses outside of central Geelong that want to come into Geelong. They’ve already done their homework and are selecting that little strip as the target,” he said.

Darryn Lyons

Gartland Property director Michael DeStefano, Darryn Lyons and Bill Votsaris pictured at the Australia Day Polo in 2017. Picture: Peter Ristevski.

“We’re looking to similar things to complement the rest of the businesses in the street — quality operators offering a good product and good service.

“Bringing people back into the CBD is a key driver for whatever we do in the space.”

Votsaris says six new businesses are set to open in the strip this year, excluding the Eureka site.

“The last one that’s opened recently is the Greek restaurant (Mavs) and that’s activated that space and we’ve got a pizza and pasta place being fitted out next to the Blackman’s Brewery Bar, so there is new businesses now.”

That area will continue to grow and evolve and be a great experience for the Geelong community.

“It will start to contribute towards city living becoming viable,” he says.

“We keep on talking about city living but unless there is a viability on offer there is not city living. You can’t say you want city living but when you get up on Sunday morning you can’t have breakfast anywhere — that’s the problem.”

This article from the Geelong Advertiser was originally published as “Buyers rule out nightclub as Darryn Lyons sells Eureka Hotel”.