Pub baron Justin Hemmes has opened up to the Wentworth Courier exclusively about why he sold an iconic Potts Point site owned by his famous family for 31 years for than $13 million.
Richardson and Wrench Elizabeth Bay’s Jason Boon, in conjunction with Allan Levy of Metro Commercial, secured the sale of 61-63 Macleay St for more than $2 million above Mr Hemmes’s expectations.
Mr Hemmes said: “It holds a very special place in my heart as it was the family’s first foray into the hospitality world 30 years ago.
“However the opportunity arose to sell the building vacant possession allowing the new owner to work their magic and take it on its next journey.
“It’s a special building and it’s in good hands.”
The owner of Merivale hospitality group has bought around $220 million in pubs over the past five years and rarely sells an asset.
In the east Merivale’s venues include Hotel Centennial, Fred’s, The Paddington, Coogee Pavilion and the Royal Hotel, site of the hugely successful Totti’s. He also recently purchased a $7.5 million home in Dover Heights for former partner Kate Fowler.
The site is steeped in Merival history. Mr Hemmes’s late father John and his wife Merivale had paid $1,428,000 for the three-level property on the corner of Challis Ave in 1988. It became their very first Merivale coffee shop.
Later, it became Merivale’s Fish Shop. The lease on the neighbouring Arida clothes shop expires in August.
Mr Boon dominates in Potts Point in terms of big sales. He sold racehorse owner Max Whitby’s sub-penthouse in the exclusive Villard block 50m from the Hemmes corner for $12.5 million last October.
Residents reveal the buyer was none other than Hardie Grant Books chairman and one-time Macquarie Bank director John Gerahty.
Mr Boon also sold the Villard penthouse of digital media boss Matthew Kapp for $15.5 million last November. And he set a national record for a terrace when property developer Heidi Onisforou sold her Challis Ave property for $13 million in 2016 (a terrace nearby has since sold for $14 million).
She has a beautiful apartment on the next Macleay St corner set for May 23 auction with a $7 million guide via Ray White’s Gavin Rubinstein and a Victoria St terrace for June 1 auction with a $5.75 million guide through Maclay Longhurst of BresicWhitney.
Mr Boon confirms the buyer of the Hemmes site was a developer who wanted a “trophy building”.
Ms Onisforou’s former husband, fashion entrepreneur Theo Onisforou, looked at the property but did not purchase it.