Bar tsar and Merivale boss Justin Hemmes has paid the highest price yet secured in a public auction – $37.05 million – for The Tennyson Hotel in Sydney’s south.
The auction, held by auctioneer Damien Cooley at Ray White’s head office in the Sydney CBD on Thursday, attracted 250 people including the who’s who of the pub industry, the Laundy and the Walker families.
But it was the owner of Ivy Bar and Establishment in Sydney who topped the bidding for the top-100 gaming hotel.
JDA Hotels’ Feros family sold the two-level, large-format, 1423-square-metre Tennyson Hotel, the bones of which are illustrative of a Sidney Warden-designed, inter-war functionalist structure.
The property, on the corner of Botany Road and High Street in Mascot, is also close to the new Green Square residential precinct.
The purchase comes as Merivale Group continues to expand its footprint. In August, the group paid $10 million for the Alexandria Hotel in Sydney’s inner-west.
Last year Mr Hemmes snapped up the well-known Newport Arms Hotel on Sydney’s northern beaches for $50 million; the prized 11,000-square-metre waterfront land holding was on the market for the first time in 130 years.
Mr Hemmes’ purchases are just some of the many transactions, worth about $500 million, to have hit the market in the past year.
Evidence of the growing market, another smaller pub, a 9300-square-metre Wollongong hotel The Figtree, also sold at auction for $5.375 million on Thursday.
The owner of the nearby Unanderra Hotel, Andrew Denmeade, bought the property which has a gaming room, a sports bar, a bistro and a drive-in bottle shop. It also has development potential.
“We’re ecstatic with the purchase, and pleased to add to our portfolio of hotels in the area,” Mr Denmeade said.
Ray White Hotels’ Andrew Jolliffe sold both properties.