Pub baron snaps up Sydney pub Vic on the Park

The Vic on the Park pub in Sydney. Picture: Ray White.

Hot on the heels of buying Collaroy’s beachfront hotel in Sydney’s north, bar tsar Justin Hemmes has snapped up the Vic on the Park in inner-city Marrickville as he keeps up the rapid-fire expansion of his empire.

The hotel was sold by the Australian Pub Fund, that is backed by high-profile businessmen Mark Carnegie, John Singleton and Geoff Dixon, alongside superannuation group SunSuper, and they were expected to reap up to $25 million from the sale.

The deal marks the seventh sale of an A-grade freehold hotel by the private equity joint venture vehicle over the last 12 months and they have picked the market well as prices have jumped for major pubs.

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The deal further lifts the holdings of his Merivale Group, which has been pushing deeper into Sydney’s suburban pub markets and using its hospitality savvy to overhaul the pubs it is buying.

“We have a self-imposed mandate to grow this wonderful business, both deliberately and responsibly, and wherever we see property backed opportunities for us to create unique experiences for our loyal client base,” Merivale chief executive Hemmes says.

The (sale) process delivered a material number of genuine inquiries, and resulted in multiple offers from experienced hospitality operators

Although perhaps best known for his up-market offerings, he pledged to keep the much-loved pub in touch with the area.

“Vic on the Park has long been at the heart of Marrickville, a vibrant community hub where people of all ages and walks of life can come together,” he says.

“We have loved being part of the inner west since opening Queens last year and can’t wait to take on what is undoubtedly an important and cherished venue in the area,” Hemmes adds.

APF director Matthew Beach says the sale highlights the strength of the hospitality and leisure market in gateway cities such as Sydney and Brisbane.

“The (sale) process delivered a material number of genuine inquiries, and resulted in multiple offers from experienced hospitality operators,” he says.

The APF operation would sell off its some of its remaining pub assets but Mr Beach confirmed the group was also “looking for investment opportunities both within and outside the hospitality-based property sector”.

APF will keep running the Unity Hall Hotel in Balmain, and both The Elephant and Exchange hotels in Brisbane. “The sale also provides the opportunity for our fund to further consider acquisition opportunities already in front of it,” APF chief executive Andrew Gibbs says.

We have loved being part of the inner west since opening Queens last year and can’t wait to take on what is undoubtedly an important and cherished venue in the area

The Vic on the Park Hotel is a large format, 1247sqm hotel site that has 25 gaming machines and a popular food and beverage business generating over $7.46 million in annual sales.

Ray White Hotels Asia Pacific director Andrew Jolliffe says the pub was chased by a number of buyers and confirmed the sale level was in the pricing range expected.

CBRE Hotel’s Daniel Dragicevich says the mixed development projects in the area meant the site was also chased by developers.

This article originally appeared on www.theaustralian.com.au/property.