Cargo Bar Sydney for sale as owners call last drinksFood and beverage group Keystone are selling Cargo Bar at Kings Street Wharf to invest in new opportunities.

Cargo Bar Sydney for sale as owners call last drinks

Keystone Group has unveiled the sale of its waterfront icon Cargo Bar, at King Street Wharf, at a time when pubs and bars are the hot sector of the property industry.

There has been close to $200 million worth of pubs that have changed hands in the past year, from the outer suburbs of metropolitan Sydney to the inner fringe and parts of the City.

While some areas, such as Kings Cross, have been hit by the lockout laws in Sydney, those properties are now being converted to apartments, giving the suburbs a different atmosphere with a demand now for wine bars and cafes.

However, the so-called iconic, well-known pubs have retained high patronage.

As a result, Keystone directors are expecting demand to be high for the inner-city bar that will benefit from the nearby Lendlease​ Barangaroo South development. No price expectations were disclosed.

The Canteen At Barangaroo. Photo: Lend Lease The Canteen At Barangaroo. Photo: Lend Lease

The sale is being managed exclusively by Andrew Jolliffe and Joel Fisher, of Ray White Hotels Australia. Both said the market depth will be a key factor in the breadth of interest likely to be shown in the opportunity.

“Cargo, like other waterfront hospitality icons such as the Watsons Bay Hotel and Manly Wharf Hotel, is an institution which has served as the epicentre for many a large Sydney celebration,” Mr Jolliffe said.

The multi-level hospitality flagship was opened in time for the Sydney 2000 Olympics, and since then has been the port of call, literally, for the thousands of weekly harbour cruise patrons who depart and return from large floating corporate events to and from the venue’s front door.

Following a recent strategic review, which culminated in the sale of the Keystone Group’s Newton Hotel to the Chris Morris-backed Colonial Hotel Group, Keystone’s executive chairman, Richard Facioni​, said the decision to sell Cargo is to underpin the future growth plans for the group.

These will include an expansion of its burgeoning wine bar and restaurant businesses.

“As a result of that strategic review, the decision was made by the board of Keystone to release some of the significant capital we have invested in the King Street Wharf precinct and to reinvest that capital into new growth opportunities” Mr Facioni said.

“While the sale of the Newtown Hotel was via an unsolicited approach, that the sale was consistent with Keystone’s strategic direction and further reinforced the group’s decision to focus on its core growth business.

“We are now being presented with a number of exciting opportunities across the country, including in Melbourne where we currently have no presence. The sale of Cargo will allow us to accelerate some of those growth plans.”

Keystone managing director and founder John Duncan, who has been at the helm of the Keystone operational arm since its inception, believes the timing for a sale of the group’s first ever business is right.

“The sale of Newtown showed us the market for well performing iconic venues is quite strong. In addition, we have recently received both formal and informal approaches in relation to Cargo, and consequently the board has decided that now would be an opportune time to sell,” Mr Duncan said.

Mr Fisher said businesses like Cargo enjoy significant international appeal given their history of consistent cash flow generation.

“We feel confident that this feature, coupled with the enviable harbour side location, will make for some keen interest from a range of local and international sources,” Mr Fisher said.

Mr Jolliffe, together with JLL’s James Aroney and Steven Tsang, is also selling the Terminus hotel at Pyrmont on behalf of TWT Auswin.

The property at 61 Harris Street, which includes the ground floor pub, was sold by the private Wakil family a year ago, but the pub has been dormant for more than 30 years.

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