Local pub sale boom
By GRAEME SINGLETON
JOHN Partridge isn't sure exactly what changes he'll be making to the Fitzroy Hotel when he assumes ownership of it on May 1.
In partnership with Steve McEvoy, Mr Partridge, who also owns Bellingen's Federal Hotel, exchanged contracts on the hotel on Wednesday afternoon.
He said his decision to buy the 'Fitz' came after just one quick inspection.
"The Fitzroy has a loyal clientele and is a solid little business, so we won't be making any quick radical changes," Mr Partridge said.
"There'll be some refurbishing and redecorating, but the focus will be on nurturing the current business and providing great food. It will become a sister pub to the Federal in that way."
Mr Partridge was responsible for the hugely successful makeover of the historic Federal Hotel in Bellingen.
"The Fitzroy doesn't warrant the same renovation, but we will take it down the same track as the Federal," he said.
"But I've only had one inspection, and I need to sit down with the council to see what's possible."
The sale of the Fitzroy Hotel caps a big week for local hoteliers.
The sale of the Plantation Hotel for $18.5 million, and now the sale of the Fitzroy for an undisclosed sum, proves there's not only a lot of confidence in Coffs Harbour's future, but also that there's plenty of money in booze and food.
"I've always thought Coffs Harbour has plenty of potential. There are already some great pubs in the city but I won't be in direct competition with them. The sort of pub we do is different," Mr Partridge said.
The purchase of the Fitzroy Hotel takes to seven the number of regional NSW hotels Mr Partridge has an interest in. Steve McEvoy, who built the Crescent Head Tavern, is involved in 15 hotels.
Warren Dean, who bought the Fitzroy eight years ago in partnership with Terry Wilson, said he'd been made an offer he couldn't resist.
"I've been in pubs since 1983 and now it's time to get back to the farm at South Boambee," Mr Dean said.