Further staking its claim to being the Balmain Pub Group, Nick Wills’ company has bought Balmain’s Town Hall.
Still mourning parting with his beloved Riverview Hotel, Wills told PubTIC the Town Hall Hotel fits perfectly with their plans for conquest.
“Two down, 22 to go,” said the head of Balmain Pub Group, which now counts five venues in the portfolio.
“It’s such a great location. First and foremost we’ll get some fundamentals in place as we see them, like tidy up the presentation, a lick of paint and new furniture.
“We have some grand plans for it, but want to understand the business a bit more, and need to operate it for a while first and evaluate existing staff.”
Aware of the growing pains that come hand-in-hand with expansion, Wills says attitude plays a big part in determining staff.
“We’ve got some great depth of talent. We recently inducted a new general manager, and re-hired a former manager from the Riverview.
“The Group’s grown a pretty good culture, which is important to us. I don’t want to employ anyone I don’t want to have a beer with at the end of the day.”
The freehold going concern transaction, near $7 million, was managed through CBRE Hotels in conjunction with Knight Frank.
CBRE national director Dan Dragicevich says the signs are good for a continuation of the hot market seen in 2015.
“This sale kicks off what is expected to be another strong year of pub sales – as appetite for quality assets continues, as borrowing rates remain low for purchasers, and as long-terms owners look to take advantage of market conditions.
“This transaction is also a classic example of the depth of buyers for sub-$10M metro assets, showing market buoyancy is not just limited to the top end of town.”
The vendors were brothers David and Phillipe Du Maurier, who purchased it in 2003.