In Property by Clyde Mooney

Click here to share this article with a friend

Justin Hemmes says Merivale has strengthened its northern beaches “destination” portfolio with the $21m purchase of Mitchell Waugh and PHMG’s The Collaroy.

Speaking with PubTIC, Hemmes explained how The Collaroy feels like an opportunity he has had before.

“I think Collaroy itself is a community that has needs, so the immediate goal is to create something for the Collaroy basin there.

“But to me, this site feels like Coogee Pavilion … it’s an iconic location, it’s right on the beach and there’s a great local community that needs a place to go.

“It’s the same vibe as what we tried to achieve with Coogee Pavilion – I think we can do something similar to Coogee. I’ve got a really good feeling about this one.”

The Collaroy

Mitchell Waugh and a group of investors purchased the (former) Surf Rock Hotel in 2010 at a receivership auction, for $7.5 million.

It took several years to secure a DA for the landmark pub, but they began a transformative $6m renovation in 2013 and reopened late 2014 as the Collaroy Beach Hotel, PHMG later tweaking this to simply The Collaroy.

The standard of the new offering became well acknowledged, winning Best Redeveloped Hotel at both the AHA NSW and National Awards for Excellence, and finding new engagement with the close-knit Beaches populace.

After seven years, through epic rain, hail and shine, Waugh says he has enjoyed working with the local community and is “sad to be exiting” as PHMG continues its own expansion with the likes of the Toxteth, in other segments of the Sydney market.

“I am delighted to sell to Merivale as I am sure Justin and Merivale will continue the good relationships we have established in the Collaroy and Northern Beaches communities,” remarked Waugh.

“We will continue to look for opportunities with our investors in the hotel market.”

The circa $21 million deal exchanged contracts Friday night following an off-market sale process through Ray White Hotels’ Asia-Pacific director Andrew Jolliffe, who took Hemmes into The Newport in March 2015 and had an inkling what could be done by the king of hospitality with Collaroy as well.

“It’s about precinct creation; his precinct is the northern beaches,” Jolliffe told PubTIC. “So I can well imagine, without having any real knowledge, that he will create a sense of magnetism for the whole area, and in doing so reposition the hospitality experience for a significant part of Sydney’s beach culture.

“He sees something, and is going to repurpose an already award-winning property. It’s exciting for Sydney.”

Well into Stage 2 of renovations at The Newport, slated to open early 2018, Hemmes says he’s proud to be part of the northern beaches camarilla, and sees big growth potential in the region for people wanting to enjoy the best things in life.

“It’s just beautiful up there, and the people are so nice – I know, it sounds cliched, but they’ve just got a great lifestyle and that’s what makes them happy. It’s a bright future for the northern beaches. It’s fabulous already, and I think it’s just going to get better.

“I’m going to create something that will complement Newport. It’s got good bones, and they did a big number on it a few years ago, so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Just going to make a couple of changes.

“We need to create destinations for the local community, because that’s what makes a suburb more vibrant.”

The Collaroy 1st birthday party