In Changing Times by Clyde Mooney

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Roadworks for a bus tunnel has forced the closure of the Gunn Group’s Royal Hotel, after issues with access, noise and dust drove away 80 per cent of its trade.

The $160 million O’Bahn project will cut an estimated seven minutes from the bus trip into Adelaide courtesy of a tunnel under existing roads and traffic. The ‘tunnel’ is in fact a trench carved into the ground from above.

Located on the North Terrace thoroughfare in Adelaide’s eastern suburb of Kent Town, the Royal is at the heart of the major works, and subjected to the commotion and air pollution of the heavy machinery and digging.

The pub was the final leasehold of Andrew Gunn’s hotel group, which was forced to exit the business citing “major disruptions”.

royal-hotel_kent-town_santa-promoting-beer-garden_fb_adjThe doors are now closed, and administrator Worrells Solvency & Forensic Accountants are managing the termination.

Worrells’ Nick Cooper told PubTIC the O’Bahn project, not scheduled to be completed until the end of 2017, has been devastating to the business, which seems to have no recourse.

“There is compensation available for businesses that are compulsorily acquired, but none for loss of trade or profits,” disclosed Cooper.

The Worrells’ partner says access to the pub has been severely restricted, and noise and dust “have crippled lunchtime and evening trade”.

The Hurley Group’s Hackney Hotel – around 600 metres North of the Royal and beyond the O’Bahn tunnelling – reports trade is down around 25 per cent compared with last year. The works began in March, and Group general manager Sam McInnes told the ABC “we probably didn’t foresee the longevity of the interruption to our business”.

A rebuttal statement from a spokesperson for the Planning & Transport Department claim extensive work to help the Royal Hotel, such as providing a plumber to connect an alternate water supply during mains shutdowns, the reduction of nightshift sheet piling in the area, and the reduction of work on the Hotel’s intersection by up to two months through changed construction sequencing.

The Department reports its also “encouraged both staff and residents” to support the noisy, dusty Hotel during construction and provided “extensive assistance” across the Gunn Group’s entire portfolio.

Until recently the Group held the keys at the Mawson Lakes Hotel and Victor Harbor’s Crown Hotel, but these were both divested in early November to Shutters Holdings – a company incorporated in June of this year, believed to be in the business of managing licensed venues.

Receivership of the once-thriving Royal Hotel, the last in the Gunn portfolio, put into question its future in the pub game.

Attempts to contact Andrew Gunn have been unsuccessful.


O-Bahn City Access Visualisation