Victorian-based Black Rhino Group has continued its expansion into South Australia, purchasing the Portside Tavern in Port Pirie.

The pub was purchased as a freehold going concern for $3.6 million off long-time owner Brad Perks and his family. The sale was negotiated by JLL Hotels & Hospitality’s Will Connolly.

The Portside Tavern has recently had a significant refurbishment, and its offer includes a spacious bistro with ‘Café Primmo’ branding, a 32-EGM gaming lounge, first-floor nightclub, craft gin bar and a 2am liquor licence.

“The Portside has been an incredible business to our family for the past 10 years, having now operated the hotel completely under management over the last two years, we saw the time as right to hand the reins to new operators with fresh eyes,” stated Perks.

“We see Black Rhino Group as the perfect party to take the property to its next level in a location that’s growing by the day.”

Black Rhino Group director David Tomsic suggested he was drawn to Port Pirie due its rapid development of late, including the $24m redevelopment of the Memorial Oval Precinct and the newly transformed Nyrstar Smelter, employing over 1,800 workers.

With further SA pub transactions to be announced in the coming weeks, Connolly suggests another feature that is making the market more appealing is the introduction of bank-note accepting technology in the state’s gaming industry.

“The SA market has certainly seen a spike in transactional activity in the last six months, with interstate operators such as Black Rhino Group now identifying opportunities that have allowed them to acquire in a more rapid rate than in more tightly held markets such as Victoria”, stated Connolly.

“Naturally, this has encouraged existing operators to test the market and be rewarded with premiums seldom seen.”

Portside Tavern joins The Newmarket Hotel in Port Adelaide as the newly-formed South Australian contingent of Black Rhino Group’s portfolio. Tomsic outlined the group’s growing SA strategy, with plans to invest further into acquired hotels.

“Our plans are to buy pubs and keep the existing staff on, inject some capital into them, upgrade the product on the floor and deliver high-quality venues back to the patrons and locals.”

Tomsic has previously suggested that the group would have several South Australian acquisitions – both regional and metropolitan – to announce in the near future.

The Portside Tavern recently underwent a significant refurbishment.

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