The people_ have grand plans for their Sydney venues, with one now trading and another set to open by the end of the month.

The new hybrid accommodation/hospitality group only announced itself in early May with the acquisition of five venues across inner Sydney suburbs, but since then it has acquired a sixth Sydney venue which it has started operating, and its flagship venue The Norfolk is set to open shortly.

The Norfolk in Redfern is being completely repositioned, with works to be completed in the next week and a soft launch to be held at the end of June. The people_co-founder Andrew Taylor says the venue will be the most indicative of the group’s philosophy.

“That’s the one that’s probably the best reflection of what the people_ will represent, especially for the Redfern community, in the sense of the courtyard being completely revamped, and a new corner bar on the ground floor.

“Level one in particular is coming along very nicely. That’s the space that we call Norfolk House. The House concept will be a signature part of the experience where people can come and use the space during the day as a social community space and a work space, and then we’ll be activating it with different uses, events, content, and creative partnerships at night. We’ve got some key partners that we’re looking to announce as well soon with the opening. So that one’s a big one. It’s taken up a lot of our immediate attention.”

The Strand up and running

The most recent Sydney venue acquisition for the group has been the Strand Hotel in Darlinghurst, purchased off Oscars Hotel Group. Having had a recent renovation prior to the sale, The Strand has become the first venue that the people_ has been trading.

While the group has made changes to the F&B offer, a twelve-week repositioning and rebranding of the venue is set to commence shortly. It will include an activation of the hotel’s 26 accommodation rooms and the inclusion of a new rooftop bar.

The hotel is also located close to the headquarters of many creative businesses like Universal Studios and Mushroom Group, so the people_ are reaching out to those companies in the hopes of becoming a trusted accommodation partner.

“We’re reaching out to these guys to hopefully be a part of our accommodation solution going forward, where we can offer rooms for travelling artists or groups. We can give them some privacy if they want to set up for a couple of nights and practice on site – we can accommodate all of that. We’re going to be spending some money on it, but that’s an exercise over the next three months just to reposition the asset,” explained Taylor.

Another nearby asset for the people_ is the Exchange Hotel, located a few minutes away. While the venues will have different offers, the vicinity of the hotels forms part of the group’s strategy to focus on key suburbs.

“We’re building a portfolio of assets across key suburbs in Sydney where it means we can have some back-of-house synergies but more importantly guests can move between each one. The room and food and beverage offerings will be different but they’ll all be programmed by us and have the same social connectivity and philosophy when it comes to community engagement – that’s what we pride ourselves on,” stated Taylor.

“They’re not so close that they will look and feel the same, but you’ll know that they’re run by the same group.”

The people_ has also acquired three venues in Melbourne, but plans for those venues will be announced in the future.

“Let’s get our Sydney assets right first.”

Vanessa Cavasinni

Vanessa Cavasinni is the managing editor of Australian Hotelier and Club Management, trade publications for the pub and club sectors respectively. Vanessa has been at the helm of Australian Hotelier since...

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