One of Newcastle's landmark buildings The Grand Hotel has been listed for sale for the first time in 30 years.
Built in the late 1800s, it has historical links to the city’s past and a commanding presence on the corner of Church and Bolton streets.
Allan Kentwell, of PRDnationwide Newcastle, is marketing the well-known pub through an expressions of interest campaign and was expecting “widespread interest”.
“It’s been almost 130 years since it first opened its doors and it remains one of the city’s most impressive and historically significant hotels,” Mr Kentwell said.
“Having undergone a couple of sympathetic renovations, the interior has remained remarkably intact and its stunning filigree balcony was replaced in 2012 after a long approval process with various authorities, including Heritage NSW.”
The building comprises two bars, a function room, a bistro and 17 accommodation rooms all ensuited and with kitchenettes.
Mike Angus bought the hotel 30 years ago and felt it was a good time “to test the waters”.
“I’m 63 years old this year and I’ve been here 30 years, so I thought I’d put it out there and see what happens,” Mr Angus said.
“I bought my first pub 40 years ago, so for 40 years I’ve had to work seven days a week.
“It’s a good pub and it’s a pub that’s got a lot of potential for someone else. I’ve probably worn out getting the best out of it.”
In February, the Herald reported buildings in Church Street and Watt Street had attracted around 145 enquiries collectively before both sold at auction last December.
A building at 35-37 Watt Street, which had an approved 17-room boarding house, sold for $2.685 million to a local investor.
A building on the corner of Church and Watt streets, at 6-8 Church Street, sold for $2.01 million. It was once used as office space but the new owners’ intention was to restore the building and use it as a family home.
In February last year, Double Bay-based property management company Eagle Property Group purchased side-by-side sites at 51-55 Bolton Street and 61 Bolton Street for $20.6 million.
Across the road, Newcastle’s historic former courthouse on Church Street was bought by an Australian company with Japanese interests for $6.6 million.
Other buildings in the area have been repurposed for apartment developments under construction, including The Herald, Parque and the new East End Precinct in Hunter Street.
“With what’s going on around town at the moment, there’s a lot of potential,” Mr Angus said.
“There’s a university going across the road with potentially a couple of thousand students there.
“When the courthouse closed and we only had nine rooms I thought it might affect our accommodation but I’ve now got 17 rooms and the occupancy rate has increased.
“In 12 months’ time I think the town will go through the roof. People have asked me, ‘Why don’t you keep it?’, and I’ve said, ‘I’m tired’. It’s 30 years in the one place. I think someone should be able to come in and make it better.”
Mr Angus said although he wanted to see the building continue on as a hotel, the building could be repurposed and there was also potential to add to it.
“I had an approval to build a two-storey house on the roof six years ago,” Mr Angus said.
“It has expired now but if it doesn’t sell then I am going to reactivate it and try to get that re-approved and add 15 more rooms in that space.
“I am wondering if I sell then after six months am I going to say, ‘Why did I do that?’. That is a fear with having it for so long because I love the building and I love the pub and I love doing what I’m doing. But I’m just tired and want to spend more time with the kids.”