In Property by Clyde Mooney

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Brett Nielson and Steve Forbes have taken their newly-formed Good Times Industries west to Armidale, picking up ‘The Newie’ as the Ingham-Myers’ exit the region.

Nielson is long-time owner of the Glengarry Castle Hotel in Redfern, where he used to employ Forbes.

The pair recently formed Good Times Industries (GTI), and have taken on the leasehold operation of the New England Hotel in what they hope is the first of many regional endeavours.

“We have plans to invest in some more rural ventures,” says Nielson. “We’ve come in here without a bank loan and want to use our equity in a growing business to expand into more pubs in the country, because the city’s topped out.”

GTI is bringing Sydney inspiration to Armidale, with a new menu, service, chefs and kitchen in the Brasserie.

The once pumping upstairs nightclub – etched into the memories of generations of university students coming to live in town – will see a full work-over, with a new lighting and sound system, and dancefloor, set to jump to the vibes of the region’s best DJs.

Nielson says the pub has misplaced its mojo, but he’s confident GTI can breathe new life into it.

“The front bar has lost its clientele … there’s no love there, so we’re revitalising that, bringing its old character back by renovating. We’ve taken the TAB out, and we’re going to focus on local food and drinks and that sort of thing.

“It’s all happening, anyway. We’re very positive, and hope we can pull it off.”

Vendors Nick and Sam Ingham-Myers last year sold the Wicklow Hotel in Armidale, and divesting the New England represents a departure from the area, allowing them to focus on their two freehold hotels in Brisbane.

The Ingham-Myers’ took an agency agreement with Manenti Quinlan’s Nick Butler* to market the asset, with the successful deal some time in the making.

“The sale of the leasehold of the Newie is a true testament to hard work and regular communication between vendor and broker,” remarks Butler. 

“Country leaseholds often require re-location, without the surety of bricks and mortar, and with that comes the necessity for buyers to feel an affinity with the town, as much as for the business they’re looking to buy. 

“It takes a patient and flexible vendor to allow the process to run its course and, in this instance, any challenge that appeared was dealt with professionally. It’s great to form friendships over a successful sale.”

*Now with JLL Hotels

Image: Stephano Photography