The Boatbuilders Yard

Investor interest still strong in Melbourne pubs

September 11, 2020
By Alana House

Lockdown restrictions haven’t dampened interest in Melbourne pub acquisitions, with investors battling for a stake in The Boatbuilders Yard on South Wharf Promenade.

The revamped boatshed with an outdoor wooden deck, offers modern pub grub and drinks. The venue is currently closed for all services.

CBRE Hotels’ Mathew George and Scott Callow are managing the sale process on behalf of owner the Riverland Group, one of Melbourne’s most experienced hoteliers.

A number of parties have expressed interest in the investment and discussions with a silent party are well underway.

Riverland Group operates a large and diverse portfolio of hospitality venues, predominantly in metropolitan Melbourne, but also in regional Victoria and metro Sydney. Riverland is also developing another major hotel project in Brunswick, an inner Melbourne area that the group has identified as an area going from strength to strength.

The Boatbuilders Yard

In relation to The Boatbuilders Yard, Riverland Group co-owner Richie Ludbrook said: “The short and sharp process managed by CBRE Hotels yielded very strong interest from a swathe of potential suitors, highlighting ongoing demand from investors even in these uncertain times.”

George noted: “Since opening eight years ago, The Boatbuilders Yard has become a focal point for South Wharf Promenade. This is a high-volume venue with capacity for over 1400 people. Prior to 2020, revenues had grown at 20% per annum and the venue was on track for another 20% annual increase before COVID-19 struck. Amid forced closures, the Riverland Group decided to offer a minority share in its acclaimed business to assist with its ongoing cash flow and ensure the group’s ability to navigate through the current circumstances.”

George added that the strong interest in the process highlighted the Victorian hotel industry remained extremely resilient.

“There’s a significant amount of private capital seeking investment in non-traditional vehicles at this point,” he said.

“Investors still have a strong appetite for pubs and like the idea of an uncomplicated avenue to owning a piece of the action. They are clearly happy to consider a minority share in quality run venues associated with highly regarded operators.”

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