Iris Capital has taken advantage of the shutdown to move up its renovation timelines at several of its pubs – including the famed Hotel Steyne.

The pub giant, which operates 23 pubs across New South Wales, is using the shutdown period as a time to focus on renovations that would otherwise disrupt normal trading.

The first project the group has fast-tracked is a major renovation of Hotel Steyne on the Manly waterfront. Iris Capital purchased the well-known Northern Beaches pub from Arthur Laundy and partners in August 2019, and had been gearing up for a staged overhaul of the venue, starting with the façade.

“The hotel being a significant heritage item has a deteriorating façade, and it needed some upgrade and restoration work, and the reinstatement of some of its original elements. So it was earmarked to be done as part of the overarching renovation plans that we had for the site,” explains CEO Sam Arnaout.

“So by the time we had to close trade, we brought forward the program to commence on the façade works as stage one of the renovation for the site.”

The next stages are to roll out the internal refurbishment works, which is a total top-down renovation of the entire venue, and the repositioning of the accommodation into boutique hotel rooms. The new design by Luchetti Krelle will retain the original saloon bar and the historic facade as well as the original roof tiles, ceilings, period features and timber flooring wherever possible.

Builders Calida Projects plan to have the entire venue finished by October, with the build staged in such a way that regardless of when venues can re-open, the hotel will be able to trade in some capacity.

“We’ve been lucky enough to have excellent support from our key stakeholders, and our financiers have been fantastic in this current climate, and they share our vision with our key stakeholders,” stated Arnaout.

Other pubs within the Iris Capital portfolio that were slated for renovation this year have also had their projects fast-tracked, including the recently acquired Cambridge Hotel in Fairfield, and three pubs north of Sydney. Arnaout said the group was making the most of a bad situation.

“Every cloud has a silver lining. There’s never a good time to do a pub renovation, but I can’t think of a better one than when the doors are closed.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *