For only $80 million, you can become the new long-term leaseholder of Manly Wharf on Sydney’s northern beaches. Home to The Wharf Bar, Hugo’s, Sake, El Camino, the Bavarian Bier Cafe and Queen Chow, the current owner, Robert Magid of TMG Developments, is divesting the popular beachside attraction once considered dilapidated.
Following a $9 million facelift over eight years ago that brought with it 20 specialty tenancies and a reinvigorated spirit, the revived development returns to market with multiple “value-add” opportunities like a third ferry wharf and an upgraded Manly Cove thanks to the generous $205 million NSW government maritime stimulus program.
“Trophy retail assets” like the Manly Wharf are rarely exchanged, according to CBRE directors Simon Rooney and James Douglas, overseeing the sale of the so-called water gateway to the northern beaches. Constructed in 1855 as a passenger station, Manly Wharf has evolved over the years into a haven for foodies, tourists, surf lovers and locals alike. Over 2.5 million people pass through the Manly Wharf every year, with direct access to Manly’s many beautiful beaches and exciting establishments.
“The flexibility around the future potential to strategically remix the tenancy profile and capitalise on multiple value-add opportunities will be a major drawcard for both domestic and international capital,” Rooney said.
CBRE says that the International Expressions of Interest campaign will close in March next year, providing an opportunity to acquire the long-term lease to Transport NSW, the original leaseholder.
The long-term leasehold was first acquired from Transport NSW by Magid’s TMG Developments in 1995. An acquisition that nearly saw Manly Wharf extended to include a 200-room, six-storey hotel. An idea that he claimed would “truly cement Manly Wharf’s position as the premier waterfront and entertainment destination in Sydney, and indeed the world”. We can only imagine what could have been since the Manly council quickly knocked back his bold idea.
Magid’s TMG Developments isn’t just parting ways with the Manly Wharf. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, as part of a plan to sell up, recycle and redirect capital in preparation for generational change, other properties that went under the hammer included the Harbour Rocks Hotel in Sydney, the Hotel Lindrum in Melbourne, and a Mulgrave development site.
CBRE has already flagged the potential for “multiple value-add opportunities, including precinct activation and improved amenities via the proposed Wharf 3 and Manly Cove Upgrade as part of the $205 million NSW Government maritime stimulus program.
“There is potential for these works to commence in 2023, which will further enhance the profile of the precinct and drive additional income growth for the asset,” concluded Mr Rooney.
With First Nations advisers and critical stakeholders working alongside TMG to ensure its transition and transformation into a world-class destination, Man of Many hopes we see a return of the Manly Fun Pier, which was sadly never recovered from the almighty Sygna Storm of ‘74.
Some of the many attractions found at Manly Fun Pier included Pierrot shows, dances, vaudeville shows, dodgem cars, arcade machines, a Ferris wheel, mini-golf, a merry-go-round and scooter-boats. A rebuild of the Manly Wharf in 1941 also saw the introduction of a ghost train and a mirror maze, with new attractions added in 1977 following the storm. Unfortunately, the money injected into the Manly Amusement Park was not enough to stop it from closing in 1989 when Manly Wharf was renovated again.
Whoever takes over from TMG Developments can expect “a secure income profile, which offers between 3% to 4.5% per annum in-built capital growth potential”, so here’s hoping the distant memory of the Manly Fun Pier is revived for future generations. And besides, the three slides over at Manly Water Works can only do so much.