In On the Market by Clyde Mooney

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A Brunswick blank canvas has hit the market, offering a rare opportunity in Melbourne’s tightly-held freehold market.

Occupying a commanding corner of Lygon Street, the Victorian Classical-design East Brunswick Hotel (formerly the East Brunswick Club Hotel) is a classic Victorian three-level pub, formerly part of Carlton & United Breweries massive stable.

In more recent times it was known as a loud and raw ‘sticky carpet’ live music venue, respected for its time given to bands on the rise, and peculiarly known for its vegan version of Melbourne’s quintessential parma.

But this era ended in 2012 when part of the lot – formerly housing the band room – joined the distinguished list of Melbourne hospitality properties to become upmarket city dwelling.

The main pub remained and itself underwent a full-scale makeover and refurbishment into a properly equipped modern offering.

It incorporates an open plan public bar with 1am licence, well-furbished large commercial kitchen and multiple function and dining spaces. It now also boasts 12 boutique accommodation rooms, all with ensuites.

Circumstance now sees the re-worked venue vacant and the passive freehold owner, who has never operated pubs, eager to offer the asset as a blank canvas for the right buyer.

The freehold vacant possession is being marketed by CBRE Hotels’ Will Connolly, who notes the rarity of the sale in a market most populated by leasehold operations.

“This is such a unique offering in our market,” says Connolly. “In a general sense, purchasers are mostly isolated to purchasing the leasehold interest of many of our great Melbourne pubs, where so often they feel as though their vision and creative work done to the premises is benefitting the freehold owner in the long-run.

“There has been an incredible amount of work done to this Hotel. It really does leave an exceptional platform for operators to trade from day one, or provide potential investors a fully-fitted hotel to re-lease to a bevy of willing operators.”

Brunswick is one of Melbourne’s northern suburbs, experiencing the onslaught of increased population density and affluence. There are reportedly around 1,100 residential dwellings currently under construction in the area surrounding the Hotel.

The East Brunswick Hotel is to be sold by auction in the coming weeks. Date to be announced.