Hotelier Justin Hemmes buys office block redevelopment next to his Ivy nightclub

Hotelier Justin Hemmes buys office block redevelopment next to his Ivy nightclub
Hotelier Justin Hemmes buys office block redevelopment next to his Ivy nightclub

Hotel baron Justin Hemmes has bought the office block adjoining the Ivy, his prime Sydney CBD hospitality venue.

Hemmes, the CEO of the family founded hotel giant Merivale, bought the Westpac site at 312-318 George Street, which sold with a lease pre-commitment from St George Bank for the entire retail footprint.

Hemmes is reportedly seeking outside investors to back the project for the first time in Merivale's six decade history, according to The Australian which broke the story.

The sale came with approved plans for a 16 storey, 195 room hotel with ground floor and mezzanine level retail (above).

It's expected the hotelier is not likely to follow through with the plans however, instead slating a mooted $1 billion redevelopment of the expanded site.

Hotelier Justin Hemmes buys office block redevelopment next to his Ivy nightclub

"It is not imminent and we have not lodged any plans, but it was always my intention to redevelop the site with an office tower and maybe a hotel,'' Hemmes told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Hemmes said it would probably be at least a three-year process to get approvals.

"We will start from scratch and given Sydney's strong demand for office space, an office tower would be a viable option, but I've not decided on the final outcome," Hemmes said.

"The redevelopment and upgrade of George Street, Sydney is a major opportunity and we will work to get investors and developers on board."

The building is rumoured to be 55 levels, including a number of hospitality outlets as well as an expansion of Ivy.

McVay Real Estate agent Sam McVay sold the property directly opposite Wynyard Station to Hemmes, who paid around $10 million more than the price expectations.

It's a change in focus for Hemmes, who has been quiet on the hotel purchasing front this year.

In 2017 he went on an inner Sydney pub spending spree, snapping up Hotel Centennial at Woollahra, Enmore's Vic on the Park, the Collaroy Hotel and an $8.95 million commercial kitchen in Marrickville to service his venues.

He also focused on his residential portfolio, expanding his footprint in Berrara, a small inlet on the South Coast, and adding a sunroom for the family's iconic Vaucluse mansion The Hermitage. 

It's a return to the CBD for Hemmes, who's ancestors began their venture into hospitality in the city when they opened a Thai tea café within their Sydney CBD fashion building in 1970. 

 

 

Joel Robinson

Joel Robinson

Joel Robinson is a property journalist based in Sydney. Joel has been writing about the residential real estate market for the last five years, specializing in market trends and the economics and finance behind buying and selling real estate.

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Sydney Cbd Justin Hemmes

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