George IV Inn sale provides new opportunities for historic pub

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A fine-dining restaurant or boutique accommodation could be the new direction of Picton’s most iconic pub.

The George IV Inn will go under the hammer on May 31 at an auction in Sydney and that could mean a new lease on life for the historic hotel.

The inn has been closed since last June when floods extensively damaged the hotel.

The insurance company Assetinsure’s decision to deny the pub’s claim in January forced owner Patrick Moloney to sell the beloved venue.

The official marketing campaign by Ray White Hotels will kick off this weekend in The Sydney Morning Herald and marketing agent Blake Edwards is excited about the pub’s sale and potential.

“The George is the ideal gastro pub or it could be a fine-dining, paddock-to-plate restaurant or a function and wedding venue,” he said.

“The Macarthur local government areas are expanding rapidly and Picton is not really a town anymore.

“It is part of the Sydney commuter catchment area and there is demand for more variety of venues or upscale restaurants.

“Due to the size of the property, the venue offers a traditional pub option and the opportunity for a boutique micro-brewery.

“The inn also has the potential, subject to Wollondilly Council approval, to build more accommodation on the site, which Picton is lacking.

“The venue will likely attract day-trippers who will come out to Picton to see the history of the hotel.”

The pub is the second-oldest continually licenced hotel in NSW, built about 1835.

The historic hotel is situated on 7,174m2 (1.75 acres) of land and features a bar, bistro, gaming room with nine electronic gaming machines, micro brewing facilities, extensive alfresco areas and traditional pub-style accommodation rooms.

In addition the George includes a rustic sandstone barn, reportedly older than the hotel, which has been converted into an additional bar and function room.

Mr Edwards believes the buyer will likely be from Sydney or regional NSW rather than from overseas.

“I suspect the buyer will be somebody with existing hotel and hospitality experience who can realise the potential of the asset,” he said.

“The venue will appeal to a broad range of buyers whether they are hotel groups or individuals.

“We have had interest from local business people who are looking to enter the hotel market and who love the venue and want to see something done with it.

“I think members of the community and business are looking forward to seeing the venue open because it is a drawcard for the area and stimulates foot traffic.”

Mr Edwards said Ray White Hotels had an “overwhelming” number of inquires with many more expected before auction.

The pub will be sold with its hotel licence, which includes a liquor licence, and nine gaming entitlements.

Mr Edwards said the venue would go to auction without a price estimate and the owner would consider the results at the auction.

“The owner will set a reserve prior to auction,” he said. “He is motivated to sell the asset and I believe the George will definitely sell on auction day.

“You could count on one hand the amount of properties sold each year in Australia which have as much historic significance as this asset.”

The George does have extensive storm and flood damage with owner Patrick Moloney estimating more than $1 million in technical repair works.

“Anybody who purchases the asset should know the venue has some damage,” Mr Edwards said. “Depending on what the buyer envisages for the asset, they will need to [carry out] refurbishments, according to how they plan to operate.”