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Developer buys heritage-listed Crown and Anchor Hotel

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A property developer has bought Crown and Anchor Hotel on Grenfell Street – established 1853 – three years after securing approval to build a 13-storey apartment building next door.

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InDaily can reveal that South Australian developer Karidis Corporation has purchased the local heritage-listed hotel, situated on the corner of Grenfell Street and Union Street in the East End.

Kevin Gregg and Greg Fahey, who had owned the Crown and Anchor for more than five years, sold the property to Karidis in September after being approached by the developer.

Gregg, who owns Rundle Street’s Exeter Hotel, confirmed the sale after being approached by InDaily.

He indicated the potential long-term impact of apartments being built next to the pub – which has a reputation for live music – was part of the pair’s reasoning for selling the business.

Stressing he wasn’t negative about the sale, Gregg told InDaily: “We knew the land alongside us was going to be developed anyway and we thought it was an opportune time to sell it to Gerry [Karidis]”.

“It has always been made clear to us that apartments are going to be built on that vacant site – ultimately – and we obviously had that in mind when we sold.”

A spokesperson for Karidis Corporation confirmed the purchase, but declined to reveal any plans for the future of the hotel.

SA Australian Hotels Association CEO Ian Horne told InDaily he assumed the purchase meant the site would ultimately be redeveloped, and “that shuts down one of our key live music venues – or will over time”.

The Crown and Anchor's Union Street façade. Photo: Bension Siebert/InDaily

The Crown and Anchor’s Union Street façade. Photo: Bension Siebert/InDaily

City councillor and heritage architect Sandy Wilkinson told InDaily the building was given heritage listing in 1991, and that “when buildings are listed, they’re listed for all time, for future generations”, adding that it would be “unthinkable” were the building to be demolished.

“It’s a very popular, attractive landmark corner pub building, that plenty of people love,” he said, adding that the purchase was “bleak news” for the Victorian pub.

He said if the developer did attempt to redevelop the site “it sets an incredibly dangerous precedent” for other buildings in the CBD.

In 2013, the Development Assessment Commission approved the developer’s plans for an apartment complex on the land adjacent the Crown and Anchor Hotel, where small bars Crab Shack and Little Miss Dive Shop currently stand.

The Crab Shack and Little Miss Dive Shop (left) were closed earlier this year. Photo: Bension Siebert/InDaily

The Crab Shack and Little Miss Dive Shop (left) were closed earlier this year. Photo: Bension Siebert/InDaily

Those bars were closed earlier this year.

The project is reportedly worth $50 million and will include apartments, retail tenancies and office space.

An Adelaide City Council spokesperson said in a statement: “Development plans for the site next to the Crown and Anchor have been approved by [Development Assessment Commission], but no plans in relation to the Crown and Anchor itself have been lodged.”

“The owners of the Crown and Anchor are taking over the Little Miss Miami/Crab Shack site and will be operating it in a similar fashion.

“The Crown and Anchor is heritage listed so demolition of the hotel is unlikely to be supported by Council, noting that Council has not been notified of any intentions for the site.”

The council’s Development Assessment Panel only considers proposed developments valued under $10 million. More expensive developments are considered by the State Government’s Development Assessment Commission.

Karidis said in late 2014 that he had postponed demolition to begin the project due to “the state of the economy”.

Earlier this month it was confirmed the 1850s building which houses Urban Cow art studios on Frome Street – connected to live comedy and arts institution the Rhino Room and gin bar the Howling Owl – would be demolished in favour of a 36-storey hotel and apartment complex.

– additional reporting by David Washington

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