Merivale drops c$13.5m for prime Byron Bay corner

The 827 square metre site at the north east corner of Jonson and Kingsley streets.

Merivale Group has acquired Byron Bay’s former Cheeky Monkey’s bar and backpackers, and neighbouring Thai Sabai massage parlour, for a speculated $13.5 million.

The now closed Cheeky Monkey’s was marketed as Australia’s best ‘party bar’.

The off-market deal for 115 Jonson Street has been mooted for months.

The property was previously held by Red Rock Leisure.

In February, Podia paid $18.55m for a backpackers (outlined) opposite Cheeky Monkey’s.

JLL’s John Musca was the broker.

The same agency recently sold the Mercato on Byron shopping centre and neighbouring hotel development site, opposite Cheeky Monkey’s, for $120m, on behalf of Wingate and Azzura Investments.

“There is a measured, exciting development evolution in Byron Bay at present, and its fitting that community-sensitive operators of Merivale’s calibre are choosing to add their world-class brand to the township’s hospitality landscape,” the executive added.

Merivale intends to open a restaurant on the 827 sqm Jonson St site with a 2am liquor licence, before years’ end.

Elsewhere in the town, in April, the Flannery family’s KTQ Group offloaded the Sun Hotel, on 7652 sqm at 61 Bayshore Drive, to Winchester Group for a speculated price of just over $10m (story continues below).

Merivale spending spree

The proposed Jonson St venue is as-yet-unnamed.

“I’ve been going to Byron since I was 10 years old, so it has always been a place close to my heart,” owner Justin Hemmes said.

“I can’t wait to open our first venue on the North Coast and spend more time in the area,” he added.

“There’s simply no place like it”.

The operator has also in recent months invested in Victoria for the first time – with Melbourne’s Tomasetti House (costing $43m) then the Lorne Hotel ($38m).

Last week the hospitality group paid $24m for Leichhardt’s Norton’s Irish Pub – its fourth inner-west Sydney venue.

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Marc Pallisco

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