Port Melbourne’s popular Pier pub up for sale

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The owners of popular Port Melbourne watering hole Pier Hotel are calling last drinks after a 23-year stint, with publican David Cambridge putting the property up for sale.

The Pier, which has enjoyed extensive renovations including a new facade for the 491-square-metre corner property, is a popular venue and the one where former AFL player Warwick Capper celebrated his 60th birthday with friends two weeks ago.

The Pier Hotel in Port Melbourne is up for sale.

A new buyer will have the option to extend upwards to add a rooftop bar, which would add to the multiple functions rooms already available at the 1 Bay Street site.

No price has been disclosed, but similar pubs with the development potential and beach views have been valued at about $18 million.

Unlike Sydney, where pub sales are frequent, Melbourne properties are tightly held by larger corporations, including the listed Charter Hall and Endeavour Group.

JLL’s Will Connolly, Lachlan Persley and Jesse Radisich have been appointed to sell The Pier, which has a 3am licence and is expected to field a high level of interest from pub operators and investors.

“It’s clear that in recent times, beachfront pub assets have had the ability to conjure a highly emotive investment response from the market, evidenced by recent high-profile Victorian coastal hotel transactions such as the Lorne Hotel and most recently the Rye Hotel,” Connolly, JLL’s senior vice president of hotel investment sales, said.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is considering ALH Hotels’ proposed purchase of the Rye Hotel, and industry experts say the sale could be worth as much as $50 million.

Other beach pub offerings include Queenscliff’s Brewhouse – formerly the historic Esplanade Hotel – which is on the market seven years after its renaissance, with a price tag of about $6 million through Colliers.

The 170-year-old former Eureka Hotel in Geelong was sold recently to the owner-operators of Murphys Geelong restaurant and bar, who bought the pub for about $1.5 million through CBRE.

In 2021, during the global pandemic, Sydney-based pub tsar Justin Hemmes entered the Melbourne market with the purchase of the Lorne Hotel for $38 million, and he is undertaking a large-scale redevelopment of the old site.

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