Australian Venue Co (AVC) has acquired the leasehold of the Telegraph Hotel in Hobart in the group’s first foray into the state of Tasmania.

The heritage venue, which has been closed since April, will be restored by AVC prior to re-opening before the end of the year.

First built in 1858, the Telegraph Hotel has a prime location near the waterfront of Hobart’s CBD, and AVC says the renovation will aim to celebrate the rich history of the hotel.

The underutilised second floor will be converted into a dining space with a fresh pub dining menu. The downstairs area will remain a public bar with a refreshed look and feel.

AVC looks for opportunities to bring historic venues back to life by updating them for the modern patron while at the same time preserving their heritage, and it has already restored several including the multi-million dollar renovation of the Sarah Sands Hotel in Brunswick, Melbourne.

AVC CEO Paul Waterson said of the deal: “With over 160 venues across Australia and New Zealand, it was high time that we invested in a Tasmanian pub.”

He told Australian Hotelier that the timing of its Tassie debut was about finding a great pub to kick things off in the state. Once AVC had the infrastructure and teams in place there, he said, it could look to buy other pubs in the state.

“We love picking up venues that have been around since the 1850s and breathing new life into them. The Telegraph Hotel was in such a terrific location, and it had great bones structurally,” he said.

“We look for underperforming pubs in beautiful locations like this one, and there are still lots of those pubs around Australia that we would love to breathe life into.

“We call these sorts of projects ‘khaki-field’ – they’re not greenfield, they’re not brownfield, they’re halfway in between.”

Waterson said that while many of these are in cities, the group also looks to iconic coastal and holiday locations, especially as Australians have become more appreciative of domestic tourism locations of late.

“The Telegraph meets both those criteria – it’s located in a capital city, and it also has great exposure to domestic tourism.”

While the company has not revealed the cost of the renovation, Waterson said AVC expects to spend up to $3m on the project.

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