Billionaire hospitality entrepreneur Justin Hemmes (pictured) has jumped on the holiday-at-home boom in Australia by acquiring his first leisure venue outside of Sydney.
Hemmes' company Merivale has acquired The Quarterdeck, a popular waterfront restaurant in Narooma on the NSW south coast, for an undisclosed sum.
The eatery, located in a one-time oyster shed along Forsters Bay, has been operated by local identities Chris and Robyn Scroggy for the past 20 years after they converted it from a fish-and-chip shop to one of the Eurobodalla region's top dining destinations.
Hemmes, with an estimated wealth of $1.24 billion, knows the area well and has been a regular at The Quarterdeck and Narooma in recent years.
"Narooma has become my second home and the backdrop to so many of my happiest memories with my family," he says.
"I think it is one of the most beautiful spots in the world, with a unique landscape, crystal clear waters and an amazing community of people who call it home.
"It has been an absolute privilege to spend so much time here over the past six years and I'm excited to now join the local business community."
Hemmes says the decision to buy The Quarterdeck after focusing on Sydney venues has been supported by the growing trend by Aussies holidaying at home.
"One of the silver linings to come out of the last year is a heightened appreciation for our own backyard, an excitement to explore our spectacular country and its coastline," he says. "We are so lucky to call Australia home.."
Hemmes' Merivale group, a family company operating for more than 60 years, has been highly acquisitive in recent years.
Last year it bought the Duke of Gloucester Hotel in Randwick for $32 million and in 2019 snapped up Bondi's Royal Hotel as part of a $70 million spree on three pubs in Sydney.
Merivale's hospitality portfolio comprises more than 80 brands and venues.Never miss a news update, subscribe here. Follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
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