Pub barons double money on Balmain’s Unity Hall Hotel

The Unity Hall Hotel in Balmain has been sold.
The Unity Hall Hotel in Balmain has been sold.

Flamboyant businessman John Singleton and former Qantas boss Geoff Dixon have finally offloaded Balmain’s popular The Unity Hall Hotel for $20 million, more than double its $10 million 2011 acquisition price.

The Unity Hall Hotel in Balmain is one of the last assets in the pub vulture fund set up by Singleton, Dixon and financier Mark Carnegie.

It is understood The Unity Hall Hotel was bought by Balmain pub owners the Roddy and McRedmond families with the deal negotiated by HTL Property chief executive Andrew Jolliffe and senior executive, Dan Dragicevich.

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The HTL partners had initially expected the hotel, one of the key planks of their Riversdale Pub Fund, to sell for around $25 million having put it on the market earlier this year.

Riversdale director Matthew Beach says in a statement that “the sale of The Unity Hall marks the last sale of our Sydney-based pubs”.

The pub was renovated in 2012.

“We remain committed to the sector, having acquired the Lambton Park Hotel near Newcastle last year, and we are actively looking to buy pubs for our second fund.

“In the meantime, we are seeking to add additional pubs to those that we currently manage on behalf of external investors to Riversdale.”

Other publicans believed to have been interested in The Unity Hall Hotel was ex Wallaby Bill Young, who hails from a hotel-owning family.

The final pub to be sold in the Riversdale hotel fund is the Elephant Arms in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, which is also on the market.

The Unity Hall Hotel, which has street frontages to Darling Street and Beattie Street and underwent major renovations in 2012, was allegedly the birthplace of the Australian Labor Party.

The pub has street frontage on Darling St and Beattie St.

It has operated in the centre of Balmain’s bustling commercial peninsula since 1846.

The Riversdale Pub Fund has recently sold Newtown’s Marlborough Hotel, Glebe’s Toxteth and Marrickville’s Vic on the Park.

The Unity Hall Hotel which has a licence for 22 pokies and includes a profitable bottle shop, is Balmain’s only hotel with a 3am license.

The sale of the Balmain pub comes at a time when the inner west is experiencing a sales boom with many local hotels changing hands.

Pub mogul Arthur Laundy paid more than $42 million for The Oxford Hotel in nearby Drummoyne in July while the Friend in Hand in the inner west suburb of Glebe recently sold for a reported $10 million.

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