Justin Hemmes sells longtime Potts Point retail building pre-auction

Justin Hemmes sells longtime Potts Point retail building pre-auction
Justin Hemmes sells longtime Potts Point retail building pre-auction

The hotelier Justin Hemmes has sold his family's longstanding landmark building, Wirrara in Potts Point ahead of tonight's auction.

The corner building had been listed for sale with an $11 million plus guide through Allan Levy from Metro Commercial inconjunction with the local R&W office, but Hemmes was actually hopeful of $13 million, which would reflect a 4 percent yield.

The building's listing coincided with the lease of Arida formally expiring this August.

Through the years, as the Hemmes family expanded their fashion and restaurant business, they also started buying up the buildings in which they operated their different businesses. His parents opened a Thai tea café within their Sydney CBD fashion building in the early 1970s.  

One of their first Merivale coffee shops was this one in Potts Point.

Justin Hemmes' late father, Mr John bought the property at 61-63 Macleay Street for $1.428 million in 1988.

The offering was a rare offload by the hotelier.

Set in the corner of Macleay Street and Challis Avenue, the mixed-use freehold investment located features four large apartments and two retail shopfronts. 

It boasts Merivale’s Fish Shop at street level and the Arida clothing retail outlet next door. 

Justin Hemmes sells longtime Potts Point retail building pre-auction

Justin Hemmes, who hosted Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s campaign fundraiser at his Vaucluse estate on Monday night, has acknowledged the Potts Point premises needed some rectification works.

But the hotel baron will soon have his hands full with a mooted $1 billion redevelopment of his recently expanded Ivy, George Street site in the CBD.

He has not lodged any plans, but intends to redevelop the site with an office tower and a hotel, in partnership with investors.

There is current $520,950 total rental income with $328,550 from the Potts Point shops and $192,400 from the four upstairs units per annum. 

The luxury retailer of international clothing brands and distinctive interiors has been on a five year lease at $158,000 a year.

It has been trading there, in one name or another, for almost two decades.

The neighbouring Hemmes-run restaurant The Fish Shop has been on a $170,000 a year lease which Hemmes could continue subject to the next owners' wishes.

It has been many restaurants through the decades including Juillet's, Moran, Giraffe, Clochemerle, Lotus and Merivale.

At one point the building was leased by Thelma and Terry Clune, the gallerists, who are best associated with the adjacent acclaimed Yellow House. 

The total internal 741 sqm area comprises 300 sqm of the ground floor. 

There are $10,000 estimated council rates, $93,000 water rates and $55,000 land tax. 

The property is part of the Santa Fe row of 1905 Queen Anne style terraces that once ran from 45 to 63 Macleay Street.

It is part of the surviving half of a set of 10 terraces, designed by architect Maurice B Halligan, some of them demolished to make way for the Chimes.

One of the terraces, also in a neglected state, is the Holiday Inn, which is owned by the Benjamin family.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

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