The Emerson: South Yarra site of nightclub, celebrity hot spot sold

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The Commercial Rd, South Yarra, building housing The Emerson has sold to a local investor.

The site of swanky South Yarra nightclub and celebrity hot spot The Emerson has sold.

A “local private investor” bought the building at 141-145 Commercial Rd from its Singapore-based owner, for an undisclosed figure understood to be in the vicinity of the $11 million price expectations.

But the sale doesn’t mean the ritzy night spot has called last drinks — ex-North Melbourne teammates Glenn Archer and Leigh Colbert, and their business partners, will continue running the award-winning venue from the site.

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Leigh Colbert, Glenn Archer and James Brayshaw at The Emerson launch.

The award-winning night spot lies behind this heritage facade.

The tri-level building with a heritage facade spent seven weeks on the market before the deal was done.

Colliers International selling agents Guy Wells and Oliver Hay said they received “strong interest and multiple offers from a wide array of buyers” in that time.

Mr Wells said the buyer had “a number of other property investments” in Melbourne, but he couldn’t reveal much more about them or the price they paid for The Emerson building.

The listing marked the first time the property had been offered for sale since The Emerson opened in 2013, following a multimillion-dollar refurbishment.

It was the first time the property had been offered for sale since it was transformed into The Emerson.

The nightclub has won multiple awards.

CoreLogic records show the property last changed hands for $4.95 million in 2011.

But Mr Wells previously told the Herald Sun Archer, Colbert and their business partners paid closer to $6 million for both the building and the business being run from it — Melbourne’s most famous gay club at the time, The Market.

The Emerson went on to win Nightclub Of The Year at the Australian Bartender Magazine Bar Awards in 2014, the year after it opened, and two more times in 2015 and 2017.

The Emerson has long been a celebrity hot spot. Glenn Archer hosting former English cricketer Kevin Pietersen … Picture: Ian Currie

… and cyclist Cadel Evans. Picture: Ian Currie

The building was sold with a 10-year lease to The Emerson, with fixed annual rent increases and two five-year renewal options, with the buyer set to pocket a $640,000 starting annual income.

Mr Wells said the listing “represented an opportunity to own the site where Melbourne comes to celebrate”, adding its prominent location and the secure nature of the investment, having a long-term lease in place, were major drawcards for the buyer.

Scarcity also played a role in the property’s popularity, the agent said: “There’s been very few hospitality-based, securely-leased investments offered for sale, so there’s an appetite for them.”

He has also listed the site of Port Melbourne’s North Port Hotel, with a 15-year lease to the pub operators in place, an October 17 auction date, and price expectations in the “early $3 millions”.

Jo Hall celebrating The Emerson’s first birthday. Picture: Julie Kiriacoudis

The rooftop bar.

The Emerson director Mark Hinkley said the venue “(looked) forward to continuing to host many of Melbourne’s favourite events (and) entertaining and celebrating our guests”, especially with the Spring Carnival and Christmas season on the horizon.

The nightclub’s 1434sq m of floorspace has capacity for 675 patrons and features multiple eating and drinking spots, including the VIP Cocktail Bar and Lounge, The Emerson Club and The Emerson Rooftop.

It also has a valuable late-night liquor licence allowing trade to 5am.

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