Hemmes boosts pub empire with the $32m “DOG”

Pub tsar Justin Hemmes has extended his footprint in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, splashing out $32 million on popular watering hole the Duke of Gloucester.

Affectionately known by locals as “The DOG”, the expansive two-level heritage property is located at the intersection of Frenchmans Road and Clovelly Road, Randwick.

It joins the Coogee Pavilion, Hotel Centennial, The Royal Bondi and The Paddington in Merivale’s growing eastern suburbs pub portfolio. There are reports the sale comes as Mr Hemmes has approached banks for $500 million to help grow his empire.

The acquisition of the DOG comes as Merivale fronts the country's big banks asking for as much as $500 million to help refinance and grow its pubs and restaurants business.
The acquisition of the DOG comes as Merivale fronts the country’s big banks asking for as much as $500 million to help refinance and grow its pubs and restaurants business.Credit:

The Good Beer Company paid Newhaven Hotels $17 million for the pub in 2015, which was once run by rugby league Immortal Clive Churchill.


It comes after a busy few weeks for pub sales, with close to $70 million worth changing hands.

On Tuesday, Bruce Solomon and Matt Moran’s Solotel Group sold the popular Green Park in Darlinghurst to St Vincent’s Hospital for between $5 million and $10 million.

Investment house Moelis Australia paid $22 million for late-night Taylor Square spot the Courthouse Hotel, through HTL Property; and the listed Redcape Hotel group outlaid $38 million for the Gladstone Hotel in Dulwich Hill, through JLL.

Mr Hemmes said that the DOG deal is a strong vote of confidence in the future of the pub industry after a devastating year and an optimistic step forward in hospitality’s road to recovery.

The pub is a large-format, freehold going concern asset, which can generate as much as $180,000 in total weekly revenues through its late licence and 19 gaming machines.

Good Beer Company owner John Azar said the DOG has been a fantastic hotel to own, and a great local community to be part of, and “we’re delighted to now pass it onto such well-respected operators as Merivale”.

JLL hotels & hospitality group advised on the sale and the national director John Musca and senior vice-president Ben McDonald said the sale of the Duke of Gloucester attracted significant interest from a wide ranging, established investor-set including hoteliers, unlisted investment funds, family offices and high-net-worth individuals.

Mr McDonald said the strong underlying property fundamentals of Sydney’s eastern suburbs, coupled with the robust trading profile of the business, were the key investment characteristics of the asset.

“As the NSW economic recovery gathers momentum, we have seen the market for operating real estate assets swell as capital is put to work in search for the stronger yielding opportunities that hotel assets offer,” Mr McDonald said.

Mr Musca added the current weight of capital, and it’s divergent private and public sources, continues to drive transaction demand not seen in over a decade, “yet again illuminating the asset class’ undeniable investment attributes”.

CBRE hotels director Paul Fraser said the pub sector has been one of the harder hit during the enforced lockdowns from the global pandemic.

“Recent times have been some of the most challenging for the pub industry nationally. We believe that this will continue into 2021, putting added pressure on operators in all states,” Mr Fraser said.

“Over the past year, operators have been able to conduct a full top-to-bottom review of their business and overwhelmingly adapt to the challenges they’ve faced and we’ve seen a trading performance bounce back in states where restrictions have been lifted or less onerous.”

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Source: Thanks smh.com