Jim Knox turns impressive profit from pub sale

The Area Hotel’s modern bistro.

Jim Knox is banking an impressive capital gain flipping Griffith’s The Area Hotel after five years.

The Area Hotel’s gaming room with 15 electronic gambling machines.

Another publican, Trent Middleton, is paying $30 million for the freehold going concern, following an off-market campaign.

Knox outlaid $8m.

That seller was a syndicate which leased it out after spending $4.2m for the freehold in 2004.

Middleton also owns pubs at Yenda – about 17 kilometres east of Griffith, and Yanco, about 55km south of there.

Knox meanwhile retains the much larger Gem Hotel and Gemini Sports Bar, with significant accommodation and a function centre, across the road from the Area, and the Griffith Hotel, both acquired a decade ago (the latter ahead of a scheduled auction).

Desirable metrics: agent

With a 3am liquor licence, the Area developed in about 1937 at 206-218 (but commonly known as 208) Banna Avenue, includes a bar, bistro, beer garden and gaming room with TAB facilities and 15 electronic gambling machines.

There are also 15 pub style accommodation rooms and a two bedroom manager’s residence (story continues below).

Jim Knox bought the Gem Hotel, opposite the Area, before auction in 2014.

The site spreads 1291 square metres.

HTL’s Xavier Plunkett, who marketed the asset with Tinning & Co’s Nick Tinning, said the deal is the priciest for a regional hotel this calendar year, and for the Riverina, ever.

“Griffith enjoys some of the most desirable hotel fundamentals of any regional centre – full employment, well above average incomes, enormous itinerant worker base, a favourable ratio of one pub per 7000 residents, and government regulatory restrictions on any further pub competition,” according to the executive.

“The Riverina has always been a prosperous region for A-grade regional pubs,” he added.

Mr Knox holds numerous hotels in New England, where his company is headquartered.

In 2021, the publican picked up every pub in Moree, 635km north west of Sydney and c550km west of Surfers Paradise.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of realestatesource.com.au.