Esplanade back on market
Devonport’s Esplanade Hotel is back on the market, this time with the freehold title and business as a going concern in the one package, but excluding the Grapevine winebar tenancy.
Previous attempts by tenants Gary Inglis and Graeme Watt to sell their pub business were unsuccessful, and the owners of the landmark site on the corner of Victoria Rd and Queen’s Pde were also unsuccessful in their attempt last year to sell the premises, minus the business.
A local syndicate headed by Charles St Clair Brown bought the former DB hotel for $1.9 million in 1994, using a $6 million mortgage to seriously refurbish it. The owners have taken back the lease held by Esplanade Hotel Ltd, which is in receivership. Mr Inglis, a director and shareholder in that company, filed for bankruptcy this week from Whitianga. He was previously publican at the Windsor in Browns Bay (subsequently taken over by a church) and Whangaparaoa Hotel (subject of legal action between troubled owner Philip Fava and The Warehouse, which wants to turn the site into a store).
Gregory Rumpel, of Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, says that despite the operators’ problems the hotel’s position gives it great potential. “Auckland still hasn’t got a differentiated boutique hotel market. It’s only seven minutes from the city on the ferry and it has an opportunity of capturing the weekend Auckland market. For people living in the eastern suburbs, Devonport’s a world away. If we can get someone with real vision in there…”