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William Wallace Hotel in Birchgrove, a favourite with Hollywood stars, is on the market

March 13, 2019

The William Wallace Hotel in Birchgrove, in Sydney's inner west. Photo: Supplied

An inner-city pub that is known to be Mel Gibson’s old haunt in Sydney has hit the market with price hopes of more than $5 million.

The Sir William Wallace Hotel at 31 Cameron Street, Birchgrove, has played host to a number of Hollywood stars over the years, including Russell Crowe, Naomi Watts and Burt Reynolds, according to the agents.

But for Mel Gibson, the watering hole is reportedly a favourite when he is in town. The actor, who spent his high school years in Sydney, played the role of medieval Scottish knight William Wallace – who the pub is named after – in the 1995 Hollywood epic Braveheart.

The pub, built in 1879, is in one of Sydney's oldest waterfront suburbs. Photo: Supplied The pub, built in 1879, is in one of Sydney’s oldest waterfront suburbs. Photo: Supplied

It was also the location for some of the scenes in the 2013 Australian-French film Adoration, and the 1976 classic Caddie.

Known among regulars as the Willy Wally, the hotel has been operated under management and is being offloaded by the Cowan family, who are quitting the industry after 20 years of ownership.

Built in 1879, the two-storey Victorian Filligree-style hotel is a local heritage item and occupies about 329 square metres of land.

It still retains heritage elements include a panelled-lace verandah, timber posts and iron lace ballustrades.

HTL Property’s Sam Handy, who is marketing the property with Blake Edwards, said the once working class suburb that neighbours Balmain has also been transformed into a cosmopolitan and affluent area in recent years.

“The William Wallace represents an entry-level trading opportunity within the tightly held Sydney metropolitan freehold market,” he said.

The pub comes with DA plans for a renovation, including underground whiskey bar. Photo: Supplied The pub comes with DA approval for a renovation, including underground whiskey bar. Photo: Supplied

“There is compelling upside by way of repositioning the food and beverage proposition in concert with the injection of some fresh energy, focus and experience.”

The property comes with two development approvals, with one a ground-floor bar extension and a restaurant on the first floor, where views of the CBD and Harbour Bridge can be seen.

The future owner also has the option to develop at the rear of the property two townhouses, a three-bedroom apartment on the upper floor and an underground whisky bar, while retaining the front section of the pub. Recent sales show nearby townhouses are selling at the $3 million mark, according to the agents.

Mr Edwards expects interest to come from local publicans, owner-operators, restaurateurs and property developers, thanks to the development potential.

“In addition to having compelling operational upside and the flexibility of two approved DAs, this investment is underpinned by strong intrinsic value in the underlying real estate and gaming machine entitlements,” he said, adding that demand continues to outstrip supply in the pub market.

Expressions of interest close April 18, if not sold prior.

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