New York’s KKR on track to pick up St Kilda’s ‘Espy’

St Kilda’s Hotel Esplanade could soon be controlled by KKR, a New York private investment behemoth.

KKR backed Australian Venue Company is reported to be buying Sand Hill Road, a business which controls some nine hospitality venues including the recently refurbished ‘Espy’.

Australian Venue Company already owns 157 hotels and is readying for a $1 billion float.

According to this item in The Australian, which first reported that Hotel Esplanade could be being sold, the purchaser is testing offshore investor appetite for that Australian Securities Exchange listing, via Citi bank.

The St Kilda asset “could help sell its story more widely,” the paper reports.

Australian Venue Company, which branded itself earlier last year, formed in mid-2017 when it paid $190 million for an 80 per cent stake in a hospitality portfolio controlled by hotelier Bruce Dixon.

It later snapped up 87 Queensland Spirit Hotel, from Coles, which still trades from the adjoining bottle shops.

Sand Hill Road is headquartered in Melbourne’s inner east Richmond.

In that suburb, its portfolio includes Holliava, and The Postie, both in Swan Street, The Bridge at 642 Bridge Road and  Richmond Club Hotel, near Rod Laver Arena and the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The Prahran Hotel, Abbotsford’s Terminus Hotel, and in the Melbourne CBD, Garden State Hotel and Waterside Hotel, are also controlled by Sand Hill Road.

The business, including freehold assets, is reportedly selling to Australian Venue Company for about $75 million.

The St Kilda venue reopened in 2018 after a flash renovation.
The popular live music venue is configured with two restaurants and twelve bars.

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Marc Pallisco

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