Property round-up

Admiral deal complete, Hawthorn plans £3m investment, fifth site for Star partner

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Property moves: which sites have been reopened, revamped or changed hands in the past week?
Property moves: which sites have been reopened, revamped or changed hands in the past week?

Related tags: Pub, Property

Admiral finalised the purchase of 137 pubs from Marston’s while Hawthorn Leisure outlined plans to invest ‘at least £3m’ in its pub estate.

Admiral completes acquisition of 137 Marston’s pubs

The board of Admiral Taverns has completed the acquisition of 137 pubs from Marston’s​.

As reported by The Morning Advertiser​ (MA​), the nationwide portfolio is made up of a combination of predominantly tenanted, leased and retail-agreement site across England and Wales.

The deal was announced on 4 November at a price of £44.9m. This disposal is in line with Marston’s plans to slash its debt of £200m by 2023 in part through the removal of certain non-core assets. 

Hawthorn Leisure plans £3m investment in pub estate

NewRiver REIT’s pub arm, Hawthorn Leisure, is poised to ramp up investment in its pub portfolio to the tune of “at least £3m” in the next six to 12 months​, according to CEO Mark Davies.

Hawthorn Leisure’s estate of 660 pubs currently represents around 22% of NewRiver REIT, with the FTSE 250 company’s pub arm being the seventh largest tenanted pub operation in the UK, according to Mark Davies – who replaced Gerry Carroll as Hawthorn Leisure CEO on 1 October.

Speaking to MA​, Davies explained that off the back of a “robust” set of half-year figures, Hawthorn is now ready to step up the level of investment in its pub estate during the second half of the current financial year, with “at least £3m” earmarked for the next six to 12-month period.

“We are very focused on operator managed sites because we're getting good returns from that part of the business,” Davies added. “That's now becoming a fairly sizeable part of our estate. We're targeting operator managed to be 15% of our portfolio in the short term and expect to be able to do that by the end of the financial year on 31 March and we're very confident about our ability to do that.”

Old Rope Walks opens fifth site following £750,000 Star scheme

Multiple operator Old Rope Walks has opened its fifth site, the Butterfly & the Grasshopper on Renshaw Street in Liverpool, following a £750,000 refurbishment project in partnership with Heineken’s pub arm, Star Pubs & Bars.

It’s third site with Star, Old Rope Walks has extended the Butterfly & the Grasshopper – inspired by a children’s fantasy poem The Butterfly’s Ball​ and The Grasshopper’s Feast​ written by Liverpool MP William Roscoe in 1810 – over three floors.

“The opening of the Butterfly & the Grasshopper helps us cement our position within the city’s competitive market and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to Liverpool,” according to Old Rope Walks managing director Mike Girling. “It’s great to play such a key role in its fantastic hospitality sector.

“We’ve been delighted to back Old Rope Walks in delivering their vision for the Butterfly & the Grasshopper,” Star Pubs & Bars’ business development manager Phil McWilliam added. “The company is well known in Liverpool for its iconic pubs and bars, and the Butterfly & the Grasshopper is set to follow suit.

“It’s completely unique, highly imaginative and finished to a very high specification. It will be a real destination venue.”

Garibaldi (1)

Bristol community pub to reopen after £185,000 makeover

NewRiver REIT’s pub arm, Hawthorn Leisure, has reopened Bristol’s Portcullis pub after a £185,000 refurbishment project.

The operator of more than 650 community pubs across England, Scotland and Wales has revamped the 250-year-old community pub in Bristol’s Staple Hill area, which will reopen under operator Debra Tipper – who has 20 years’ experience managing pubs in and around Bristol.

“I can’t wait to see what the locals think of the new and improved Portcullis,” Tipper explained. “It’s almost unrecognisable inside, but we’ve also made sure to retain some of the original features, including the front door.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming new and old customers to the official reopening – there will be a buffet, and we’ll be staying true to the pub’s tradition for live music with some great musicians as well.

“The Portcullis is exactly the kind of pub they want to see thriving,” Hawthorn Leisure’s managing director of operations Mark McGinty added. “This is a classic, community pub with a loyal regular clientele which has been a huge part of the community in Staple Hill for centuries.

“We were more than happy to invest in the Portcullis to make sure it can continue to be an important community hub, and with Debra’s experience, we’re sure the pub will be a huge hit with the locals.”

Stourbridge pub reopens after £40k refurb

The Wychbury Inn in Stourbridge, West Midlands, has been reopened by Admiral Taverns after a £40,000 transformation.

New licensees Kitisart and Sarisa Tangsakul will look to develop a reputation for authentic Thai food at the revamped site.

“My wife and I are both incredibly excited to be taking on this fantastic pub in such an amazing community,” Kitisart said. “As soon as I found this pub, I saw there was an opportunity to provide the community with something unique and different, and we wanted to develop an offer that appealed to all ages.

“We’d like to thank the local residents for their support already and we look forward to a great time ahead.”

Admiral business development manager John Lobley added: “Kitisart and Sarisa have created a unique offering for the community, that is backed up with outstanding talent to provide the best Thai food in town.

“After working in the hospitality industry for 10 years, Kitisart is the ideal candidate to take this pub to the next level and provide a real community asset to the town, and I would highly recommend anyone in the area to head down and try their delicious food.”

Admiral pub to reopen under new licensee

Community pub operator Admiral Taverns it to reopen the Garibaldi Inn in Worcester, under experienced local licensee Chris Morris.

“I am incredibly excited to be taking on this wonderful pub just down the road from one of my closest friends,” Morris explained. “I love this town and the locals are what make this town so great. I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to get stuck in.

“I am thrilled to be able to offer another alternative and am hoping to develop an offer that appeals to everyone, so please don’t hesitate to pay a visit and I look to forward to a great time ahead.”

Admiral business development manager Rachael Dixon added: “Chris has an exceptional talent in the hospitality industry, and the community will be spoilt for choice with the Garibaldi Inn. He has reinvented the pub to attract a wider audience and I am confident the local community will feel the same.

“Chris is already a real asset to the town, and I would highly recommend anyone in the area to test it out.” 


A new dawn for the Full Moon pub

Grade II-listed pub the Full Moon at Rudge, near Bath, has been sold by Colliers International.

The oldest part of the pub – which boasts five en-suite letting bedrooms – dates back to 1640.

“The Full Moon’s purpose is to create happy and memorable experiences for all our loyal locals and trusting guests, through providing honest, authentic, local, fairly priced and always lovely pub food, drink and a place to stay,” the Full Moon’s new owners said.

“This is a charming country inn situated in an area well-known for its walking and local fishing rivers,” Ed Jefferson from Colliers International’s hotels team said.

“The previous owner acquired it in 2017 and carried out a number of improvements before deciding to sell it, so it represents excellent value for money.

“There are attractive gardens to the front and rear, with plenty of room for a marquee, making this an ideal summer pub. 

“It is only lightly traded and offers plenty of potential for the new owners to complete the refurbishments, reopen the letting rooms and reintroduce a food offering, which means this could be an exciting new dawn for the Full Moon.”

Garibaldi (2)

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