In On the Market by Clyde Mooney

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Brisbane institution the Normanby Hotel has hit the market, boasting a big block development opportunity and more upsides than Maroons supporters in Sydney.

Michael Dempsey and Otto Wilhelm have co-owned the heritage-listed Normanby on Red Hill adjacent to Suncorp Stadium since 1999.

They closed it for a period to execute a massive renovation in time for the 2003 Rugby World Cup, and for the next seven years it was a stalwart of the Brisbane pub scene, doing $300k per week in f&b. The property counts a separate rear building housing a steak restaurant.

Normaby Hotel restaurant

The comprehensive restoration of the heritage-listed pub positioned it for the high-volume traffic it has enjoyed, but 15 years on it is somewhat in need of a refresh and softening of its no-nonsense appearance.

The huge 3,683sqm block is at Red Hill’s ‘Fiveways’ intersection of Musgrave Road and Countess Street, with significant height differential at the rear, currently the carpark, bringing major redevelopment potential. The upper levels of the Hotel already enjoy city views.

Any future expansion would also benefit from the world-class $2bn ‘Brisbane Live’ entertainment precinct, just 200 metres away.

Dempsey was the founder of Ezidebit, which he sold in 2014 for $305 million, and now, wanting to focus on his core business of property technology company Console, seeks to dissolve the partnership and divest the bustling pub.

The reluctant operator retained the EGMs in the pub, but they are dated and neglected, and certainly better located in the second building.

Dempsey and Wilhelm have engaged CBRE Hotels’ Queensland-based Paul Fraser and national director Daniel Dragicevich to market the pub, representing the vendors’ exit from the industry.

“The Hotel boasts huge underlying value with 35 gaming machines on site, offering significant gaming upside potential,” notes Fraser.

“On top of this, the prime location of the Hotel and the huge expanse of land this asset offers makes it an obvious development play in the future. Ultimately the incoming purchaser has a blank canvas in which to reinvigorate and reposition the pub immediately, whilst also having the future opportunity to maximize the site to its highest and best use through substantial development.”

The Normanby is to be sold via an Expressions of Interest campaign, closing Thursday 12 April.