Sydney ‘bar tsar’ Justin Hemmes’ Merivale group makes $40m move on Melbourne

Mr Hemmes’ Merivale group has 80 or so pubs and restaurants in NSW.  Picture: Getty
Mr Hemmes’ Merivale group has 80 or so pubs and restaurants in NSW. Picture: Getty

Billionaire Sydney hotelier Justin Hemmes is making his first move into Melbourne buying Tomasetti House in trendy Flinders Lane from the Millett family in a $40 million deal.

With 80 or so pubs and restaurants in NSW, Mr Hemmes’ Merivale group has single-handedly transformed Sydney’s pub culture, specialising in carving sophisticated pubs and eateries out of tried old hotels across the city and suburbs. He looks certain to attempt a similar feat at Melbourne’s historic 277 Flinders Lane.

Indeed, the Merivale Group looks intent on expanding out of Sydney given its two most recent purchases have been outside the city. It recently bought The Quarterdeck in Narooma, a tiny outpost tiki bar on the NSW south coast.

On Tuesday Merivale was tight-lipped about its plans for Tomasetti House saying only that it would receive the keys to the ‘magnificent laneway freehold building’ later this year when it would announce its plans.

Tomasetti House has most recently been used as a glamorous backpacker hostel after the Millett family purchased the historic property back in 2014 for $16.2 million.

“Melbourne is a very special city, with a unique energy and an inimitable soul,” Mr Hemmes said.

“Its local hospitality industry is one of the best in the world; brimming with creative culinary talent and supported by a passionate community of diners. We are honoured to open our first venue in Melbourne, and cannot wait to work alongside so many local industry greats”.

Mr Hemmes, who is know for resetting the Sydney pub and nightlife scene, added that Melbourne’s CBD has suffered terribly from the hardships of the past year. “We are committed to doing everything we can to help reinvigorate the city and support it in its road to recovery”.

Meanwhile, Melbourne developer, DealCorp, has just announced its latest partnership which will see The Standard Hotel open its first Australian location in Rose Street, Fitzroy.

The project, worth more than $60 million, is slated for completion in 2023 and will involve a 127 room hotel over seven levels.

DealCorp purchased the site in 2018 and subsequently had a hotel permit approved in 2019.

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