Merivale has expanded its NSW portfolio with the acquisition of 115 Johnson St, Byron Bay – the hospitality group’s first venue on the far North Coast.
The property, which was previously owned by Red Rock Leisure and home to Cheeky Monkey’s Bar and an adjoining massage spa, will reopen as a restaurant and bar later this year.
Merivale has been on a $200 million acquisition spree over the past year, buying venues in Narooma, Lorne (below), Leicchardt and Melbourne. CEO Justin Hemmes also hinted to the Sydney Morning Herald that another Narooma purchase is in the works.
“This is simply a continuation of our growth strategy pre-COVID, which was focused on acquiring great properties like The Royal and 3 Weeds, and creating new experiences in existing venues,” he said. “There is a real excitement for socialising and experiencing life through food and entertainment, so we want to embrace that and keep challenging ourselves to deliver the very best.”
Regarding his latest purchase, he said: “I’ve been going to Byron since I was 10 years old, so it has always been a place close to my heart. I can’t wait to open our first venue on the North Coast and spend more time in the area. There’s simply no place like it”.
Most of the recent Merivale purchases have been negotiated by John Musca, Managing Director at JLL’s Hotels & Hospitality Group.
“Delighted to have transacted circa $90million of hospitality assets to the Merivale Group over the past 10 weeks, bringing their world-class, creative approach to hospitality offerings to communities around the country,” he said.
Merivale will receive the keys to the venue on May 28. It said further details will be announced in due course.
Byron Bay property prices have gone through the roof over the last 12 months, as cashed up Aussies look for new experiences now they can’t travel overseas.
Tourism is booming, but so is remote working – people have realised they can work from home and live wherever they want. Residential property sales have gone up by 40-50%.
The Mercato shopping centre in Byron Bay sold for about $120 million last week, in one of the biggest ever commercial deals in the town.
The Woolworths and Palace Cinemas-anchored mall and a neighbouring development site spanning 1.1 hectares at 98-116 Jonson Street was purchased by a family fund headed by the Mustaca family, owners of United Cinemas, and the Pelligra family, major real estate developers.