Church swoops on Leichhardt’s historic Albert Palais

The renovated function centre is licensed, with several zones and an office.

Glorious Gospel Church Life is paying $11 million for Leichhardt’s historic Albert Palais.

The not for profit will additionally spend $500,000 to rent the property until 2023, when the sale settles.

The property is configured with four retail tenancies fronting Parramatta Road.

Vendor Michael Onoufriadis has held the property for 28 years – occupying it as a reception centre until 2017, when it was then leased to another operator.

It was offered 70 per cent vacant by Ray White Commercial’s Kristian Morris, who said eight offers came in following an expressions of interest campaign which closed in late August.

GGC Life founder Leo Nicotra said the group has leased properties for three decades, including offices at nearby Five Dock.

“This acquisition is life changing for our organisation and its members,” he added. 

“It’s a dream I’ve had since we started,” according to the pastor.

“We are so happy to call the Albert Palais our new home.” 

The deal comes a year since Hillsong outlaid $23.4m for West Melbourne’s Festival Hall, also to occupy.

Reception centres, funeral parlours looked in

Developed in 1934, the Albert Palais occupies an 822 square metre block at 289-295 Parramatta Road, on the north west corner of Catherine Street.

For decades, the three storey 1815 sqm licensed property was a dance hall and live music venue (story continues below).

Converted as a function centre in 1981, it can accommodate 600 guests.

There are also 61 car parks.

The asset is configured with four retail tenancies.

GGC Life will occupy the hospitality elements as a place of worship.

“We received a variety of interest from developers, accommodation providers, functions and events, dance and fitness [businesses], funeral parlours, office providers and church groups,” Mr Morris said.

“People were attracted to the building’s rich history and character as a former dance hall, the corner location on a major arterial road, three street frontages, position relative to the Sydney CBD and the proposed uplift in planning controls under the Draft Parramatta Plan,” he added.

Under that gazetting, the airspace would be able to make way for a 17 metre building.

The acquisition comes five months since Greater Union sold a Double Bay office which recently replaced the historic Vogue Theatre.

In August, an offshore apartment developer paid $12m for South Hurstville’s former Paramount Theatre – a building for years occupied by Civic Video.

Five weeks ago we reported Sotheby’s Australia’s founder Robert Bleakley offloaded Paddington’s Verona Cinema for a speculated $35m – some 15 per cent over expectation.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of