In Property by Clyde Mooney

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Ending two decades reign, the O’Sullivans have divested their iconic Essendon local.

Previously a butcher shop and a hardware store, the family bought the Mt Alexander Rd site in 1988 and created an Irish-themed pub they eponymously called O’Sullivan Hotel.

Eighteen years later, a major refurbishment produced a change in direction and name, as an Asian-style bar-restaurant dubbed Ginger Annies, which has seen its own success.

Just eight kilometres from the Melbourne CBD, the Essendon precinct has evolved dramatically in the past 20 years, now sporting 30-storey apartment blocks and a diminished market for a traditional local pub.

Offering that the time when “there aren’t that many years ahead of you” had come, last month Veronica O’Sullivan and family listed the freehold business through CBRE Hotels as a vacant possession.

The 353sqm site, zoned Commercial 1 with a 3am liquor licence, is surrounded by commercial property and limited competition, bringing vast development prospects (STCA).

The emergent buyer is a private Vietnamese family with a background in running bars and restaurants, who plan to continue operations as they are. The pub newcomers reflect the ‘blank canvas’ marketing and broad opportunities of the site.

“This sale really is another great reflection of the buoyancy our market welcomed back in the last 12 months,” notes CBRE’s Will Connolly, who managed the sale.

“In particular, it highlights the appetite the industry has in freehold going concern or freehold vacant possession opportunities. Purchasers, now more than ever before, have a clear desire in owning ‘bricks & mortar’ rather than just the business.”