Mystery buyer snaps up The Oaks in multi-million dollar deal
A mystery private “high-net-worth” buyer is said to have laid down up to $150 million at the bar to buy the iconic The Oaks Hotel on Sydney’s lower north shore.
After five decades of ownership, the Thomas family put the sprawling watering hole on the market in August last year with a price tag of $175 million, which, if achieved, would be the highest ever price paid for a pub.
In April last year, former Sydney lord mayor Nelson Meers paid $160 million for the Crossroads Hotel in the western suburbs, reflecting the large appetite for the pub sector.
It was suggested the private buyer is a local patron of the pub, with “connections to the film industry”. One suggestion was an associate of the film producer George Miller.
Pub baron Justin Hemmes confirmed he wasn’t the buyer. Another name thrown in the ring, MA Financial, which owns the Beach Hotel in Byron Bay, also said they were not involved. A title search has also come up blank.
Agent to the sale, JLL Hotel’s John Musca declined to comment on the sale and the price, as it is yet to settle, but was authorised to say: “I can confirm it has sold to a local family and long-time patrons of The Oaks”.
“It is expected to settle soon, and you will see continuity of this wonderful, community business,” he said in a prepared comment.
Oaks Hotel owner David “Taffy” Thomas said last year when he put the property on the market, that after many unsolicited offers, he was ready to sell the Neutral Bay pub, famous for its 80-year-old oak tree that dominates the beer garden.
The Thomas family bought the leasehold of the 2188-square-metre property in 1975 from Tooth & Co and have worked to make it the most well-known pub in the area. It sits on the busy corner of Military and Ben Boyd roads. In 2019 the owners undertook a large-scale renovation of two of the main bars.
David Thomas’ son and family representative Andrew Thomas said last year that given the offers, “it just feels like the right time for the family to move on, and we’ll leave The Oaks with fond memories and many friends”.
While there are heritage issues and some height restrictions in Neutral Bay, the pub comes with a mixed-use zoning and favourable planning guidelines that will enable a new owner to add five levels to the site.
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Source: Thanks smh.com