Restaurant News

Sydney’s Merivale acquires first Melbourne venue for a reported $40 million-plus

Almost a year after his company backtracked on plans to expand the Merivale At Home offering to Melbourne, CEO Justin Hemmes says he "cannot wait to work alongside so many local industry greats”.

By Yvonne C Lam
Merivale CEO Justin Hemmes at Sydney's Little Felix. Photo: Rob Shaw
Merivale is making its move across state lines, with the Sydney hospitality juggernaut acquiring Tomasetti House at 277 Flinders Lane in Melbourne's CBD for a reported $40 million-plus.
The heritage eight-level building is Merivale's first venue in Melbourne, and its first outside of New South Wales.
The property was purchased from the Millett family, who run the Wake Up! backpacker hotel franchise, for over $40 million according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The building last sold in 2014 for $16.2 million.
As yet, no plans have been unveiled about what will fill the corner building, which currently houses commercial tenants and basement bar The Mill House.
In a statement, Merivale CEO Justin Hemmes expressed his excitement at joining the Melbourne hospitality scene, which he described as "one of the best in the world".
"We are honoured to open our first venue in Melbourne, and cannot wait to work alongside so many local industry greats.
"Melbourne's CBD has suffered terribly from the hardships of the past year. We are committed to doing everything we can to help reinvigorate the city and support it in its road to recovery."
Hemmes' last venture in Melbourne did not receive the warmest reception. In July 2020, Merivale backtracked on plans to expand its Merivale At Home product – a range of home-delivered meals from some of its Sydney restaurants – to the Melbourne market after outcry from the local industry.
At the time, Melbourne was weathering its second lockdown, with local restaurants, cafés and pubs forced to close their dining rooms under the city's stage-three restrictions.
The Merivale portfolio contains more than 70 restaurants, bars and function spaces in Sydney. In March, the company announced it had purchased The Quarterdeck, a tiki-themed bar and grill restaurant in Narooma on the NSW South Coast.