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Lion Hotel set to roar again under high-profile new owners

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Historic North Adelaide pub The Lion Hotel has been sold to a consortium of prominent Adelaide hotel owners after nine months on the market.

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The hotel has been shut since COVID-19 restrictions were enforced in late March.

The new owners intend to re-open in late September. It is understood that existing staff will be retained, with many receiving JobKeeper payments during the closure.

The consortium, which has formed under the Duxton Pubs Group banner includes Ed Peter, Martin Palmer and Brett Matthews.

The Lion Hotel is expected to become a cornerstone asset for the group, whose members collectively own and operate multiple hotels and premium hospitality venues across Adelaide and the Hills including the Stirling, Uraidla and Crafers hotels, 2KW Bar & Restaurant, and Paloma Bar and Pantry.

It is the first time the venue at 161-175 Melbourne Street has changed hands since Tim Gregg and Andrew Svencis purchased and heavily renovated the hotel in 1996.

“It’s been quite a journey, with many state and a few national awards along the way, but more importantly great staff and management team, and lots of wonderfully loyal customers,” said Gregg.

Duxton Pubs Group shares the same name as ASX-listed companies Duxton Broadacre Farms and Duxton Water, founded by Ed Peter.

A Duxton Pubs Group spokesperson said the would working alongside Gregg and Svencis through the transition period with the aim of re-opening in late September.

“Our goal is to continue to invest in high quality freehold and leasehold hotels as well as other premium assets, with the aim of creating the most dynamic hospitality group in South Australia.”

The site, which was sold through JLL, includes the adjoining three-level office block at 183 Melbourne St covering 2888sq m. The combined land is about 4833sq m.

The property was expected to fetch $17 million but is understood to have been sold for significantly less.

The heritage-listed hotel was built in 1881 with a brewery, malthouse and cellars and was renamed the Old Lion in 1972 before reverting to its original name under the previous ownership.

A prominent live music venue in the 1980s and early 90s, the hotel had been on the market since October 2019 and features a restaurant, casual dining area, bar and function rooms.

The property sale was led by JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group’s Vice President Will Connolly.

He said the transaction was testament to the iconic nature of the Lion Hotel.

“The sale of the Lion Hotel is a significantly positive step for the South Australian hospitality market as it continues its return to normality following COVID-19 restrictions,” Connolly said.

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