JDA Hotels has bought the Unicorn Hotel in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

After a dormant period, the NSW pub market has begun to ramp up once more, with the sale of the Unicorn Hotel in Paddington. The pub was sold by a private investor and Marys Group, who brought the freehold and leasehold interests of the hotel together for the first time in 15 years.

The sale of the eastern suburbs pub was guided by JLL’s Ben McDonald and Kate MacDonald, in conjunction with IB Property director Steffan Ippolito. The EOI campaign for the hotel attracted a number of hospitality operators, with JDA Hotels besting the competition to acquire the hotel.

JDA Hotels director John Feros was pleased to add the Unicorn Hotel to the group’s stable, and commented on its plans for the pub.

“We are thrilled to share the news of this new acquisition. This iconic, heritage location holds a special place in Sydney’s heart and we’re honoured to be a part of its legacy. The pub has a distinctive charm and great character that we’ll be looking to preserve whilst introducing new elements that both celebrate it’s history and appeal to the vibrant and diverse Oxford Street community,” stated Feros.

“Our goal is to create a hub of fantastic food, drinks and entertainment reflective of the lively spirit of Paddington.”

The Marys Group commented on the sale, as they prepare to exit the venue’s operations.

“The Unicorn Hotel has been such a special and important part of our lives, a real dream scenario to have been at the helm of such a beautiful pub for over seven years.  These next few months will be amazing for us to see all our friends and locals a few more times before the pub is handed to the next custodians as they guide the mythical beast towards its next iteration.”

MacDonald noted the sense of nostalgia surrounding the Unicorn Hotel, that was made evident throughout the sales process.

“There was certainly a lot of fond memories rehashed during the sale process from operators around the country. It was great to see,” she stated.

Already renowned for its Monday night comedy nights, incoming owners JDA Hotels will have the opportunity to capitalise on many renewal projects occurring in the pub’s vicinity. Unicorn Hotel is situated on Oxford Street near Glenmore Road’s high fashion retailers as well as various redevelopment projects including the Verona Cinema redevelopment and the luxurious 25 Hours Hotel set to open later this year. The Unicorn is ideally situated to capitalise on the near-term increase in patron density and precinct hype as the surrounding area transforms.

When it was first announced that the Unicorn Hotel had been put up for sale, MacDonald the rarity with which pubs become available in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

“We are frequently asked for pubs in the Eastern Suburbs, but the fact is there are very limited opportunities in that location especially at such an attractive price point. There has been a real consolidation thematic play out and for good reason – these hotels are great businesses.”

The Unicorn Hotel sale continues the recent run of Sydney pub sales after a quiet six months, with the announcement coming a week after the news of the $70m asset exchange between Redcape and Gallagher Hotels on CBD venue Criterion Hotel and western Sydney pub Crescent Hotel. Earlier in the month it was also announced that Melbourne operator Julian Romero of The Happy Mexican had taken over the leasehold of The Lansdowne Hotel – also previously operated by Mary Group – bringing his Mexican dining concept to the city fringe pub.

The Unicorn Hotel joins JDA’s portfolio of metropolitan Sydney pubs, including the General Gordon, Padstow Park Hotel and The Peakhurst; as well as Gold Coast pubs Mermaid Beach Tavern and Gold Coast Tavern.

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