Sex marks the spot: brothels listed for sale after rise in illegal massage parlours


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The interior of a Rydalmere brothel up for sale.

An old marketing adage used to suggest sex sells but a range of licensed brothels have been closing up shop after struggling to compete with illegal adult massage parlours and are now up for sale.

They’re offering real estate buyers the chance to own properties with extra laundry facilities, blacked out windows and a labyrinth of rooms with hot tubs.

Agents say the properties are often a hard sell because banks are more reluctant to finance the properties amid the current credit squeeze.

This has forced some brothel owners to cut the prices for their properties and the result is that they often offer buyers more “bang for their buck”.

This brothel in Banksia is up for sale.

Brothel magnate Milan Stamenkovic said the operators of many licensed venues struggled to compete with illegal businesses who could undercut them on price.

“Illegal brothels are everywhere,” he said. “They have an unfair advantage because they are hard to police and don’t have to comply with occupational health and safety.”

This environment has been brutal to smaller time operators, especially those outside of inner city areas that don’t get as much foot traffic, Mr Stamenkovic said.

A brothel in Coffs Harbour has been for sale for more than a year.

“Legal brothels can still make a lot of money, but you’ll find about 20 per cent of the businesses make 80 per cent of the money.”

Escort turned adult entrepreneur Samantha X said the adult industry was saturated, making it difficult for new entrants.

“The rise of private escorts has crushed brothels, as well as Sydney’s lockout laws,” she said.

“The fact that there are illegal operators popping up on every corner is frustrating and unfair for any business operator trying to do the right thing.”

The Rydalmere brothel passed in at auction.

Among the properties currently for sale is a site in Rydalmere once home to Claudia’s Penthouse but is now listed as a vacant possession.

It is expected to sell for over $2.1 million after having passed in at a May auction for $2.7 million.

The property includes eight “massage” rooms, a VIP lounge area and more than 1000sqm of floorspace. Many of the walls are painted pink or purple and the property is decorated with racy artwork. Most rooms have hot tubs and mirrors.

Escort Samantha X said the adult industry was saturated.

A brothel in Banksia is also up for sale as a commercial investment but remains tenanted. Local agents estimated the property was worth somewhere in the region of $2 million.

A Coffs Harbour brothel has been up for sale for more than a year, in which time the price has dropped from $1.4 million to $1.35 million.

It includes a room with a stripper pole next to the bed and a hot tub with chessboard tiles. The listing claimed there are six “consultation rooms”.

Further north, a brothel in Tweed Heads is up for sale for an undisclosed price.

This Newtown brothel recently changed hands.

The brothels often have pink, red or purple interiors.

Recent listings followed the changing of hands of a range of brothel sites spread across the Greater Sydney area.

A brothel in Central Coast suburb Berkeley Vale that attracted controversy in 2010 when a children’s gymnastics business opened next door was up for lease for much of 2018 and recently became tenanted again.

A Rockdale brothel site once occupied by adult business The Black Garter sold as a vacant possession at the start of 2018.

A variety of brothels in Kings Cross were also redeveloped into office or residential space, including a brothel on Kellett St once known as Cleopatra’s in the City. Another Kellet St brothel that sold in 2014 for $2 million has been turned into office space.

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