It has been announced that the iconic Sydney venue, Cargo Bar & Lounge, has been put up for sale through the Ray White property group. The nightclub is not, as has been reported, being shut down.
Owned by The Keystone Group since 2000, the venue is a well-known fixture of the Sydney bar scene and the King St Wharf entertainment precinct.
According to The Keystone Group, they have undertaken a “strategic review” of their portfolio of assets. The review was apparently sparked not only by the recent sale of the Newtown Hotel to Colonial Hotel Group, but also through “interest” in the site.
According to executive chairman, Richard Facioni, the review’s outcome lead to the board of The Keystone Group deciding to “release some of the significant capital” the group have invested in the King Street Wharf precinct and to “reinvest that capital into new growth opportunities.”
Mr Facioni went on to say, “The group is being presented with a number of exciting opportunities across the country, including Melbourne where we currently have no presence. The sale of Cargo would allow us to accelerate some of those growth plans.”
Additionally, John Duncan, managing director of The Keystone Group told b&c that the lockout laws had not influenced the group’s decision to sell as the venue has continued to trade strongly throughout its 16 years of operation. Duncan added that he believes the recent development of Barangaroo “is great for the area”.
“The growth of the precinct has only been positive for King’s Street Wharf as a whole, getting more people down to that end of the city to make it a new dining and drinking hub,” Duncan says.
While the recent sale of the Newtown Hotel was due to an unsolicited approach from another hotel group, the sale reinforced the group’s strategic decision to focus on its core growth businesses including its successful wine bar and restaurant brands.
“The sale of Newtown showed us there is currently a strong market for well performing, iconic venues,” says Facioni. “We have also received recent approaches, both formally and informally, in relation to Cargo, so the board decided now would be an opportune time to explore a sale of the business.”
Cargo was The Keystone Group’s first asset and has been in action since 2000, operating successfully for over 15 years now.
The sale of Cargo will be managed by Andrew Jolliffe of Ray White through formal expressions of interest.
Image supplied by The Keystone Group, photographed by Dominic Loneragan.