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Erksineville’s troubled Imperial Hotel has been sold
Aug27

Erksineville’s troubled Imperial Hotel has been sold

CREATED ON // Thursday, 27 August 2015 Author // Reg Domingo

Iconic Erskineville venue, The Imperial Hotel, has been sold. 

Its new owners are Fraser Short and Scott Leach, a pair of bar barons committed to breathing new life into the troubled venue.

Fraser Short is the man behind venues such as Morrison’s Bar and Grill and the Watson’s Bay Hotel, while Scott Leach runs Erskineville’s Rose of Australia. They both signed off on the deal with the previous owner Shadd Danesi on Wednesday.

The hotel will remain closed for the next few months whilst the new owners conduct consultations, including with the LGBTIQ community, on the direction of the venue.

“We have stepped up because we are passionate about its future,” Leach said.

“We recognise the Imperial’s importance to the LGBTIQ community and we will be reaching out to the community in coming months as we try to create something unique and special with the venue, whilst acknowledging its LGBTIQ heritage.”

Short said $3 million dollars would be immediately injected into the troubled site.

“It will remain shut in the short-term but we are injecting funds immediately to start creating a modern food and beverage option for the venue,” he said.

“This will include the introduction of a custom kitchen and high end restaurant business to meet the local community demand.”

The sale brings to an end speculation about the Imperial Hotel’s future following a series of raids and closure orders in the past few months.

In a space of a month, the hotel was twice forced to shut its doors for 72-hours for serious license breaches, including instances of open drug use, lax security and severe intoxication.

It never re-opened after the second closure order and its tenants, Spice Group International, left shortly after.

Owner Shadd Danesi has since been in discussions with various stakeholders including the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing and NSW Police about keeping the venue alive. 

Danesi, who ran the hotel as an LGBTI venue for 13 years, told SX he was “sad” to see it go but he believed the venue has “enormous potential” 

“I wish the new people all the best with it,” he said. 

He added that the reason why he sold the venue was because of “unfair” legislation that penalises a landlord for the actions of a tenant. 

“A landlord who owns a hotel in NSW will suffer financially if strikes are imposed through no action that they have taken,” Danesi said. “They haven’t committed an offence except have an investment in a hotel. But the way the legislation is drafted, they will then suffer commercially.”

He wished the new owners well.

“I believe they will turn it around and it will become a very successful hotel as it should be,” Danesi said. 

“I have confidence in the new people taking it over with their experience and expertise in running the hotel.”

He offered his thanks to the many staff, patrons and residents who have supported the Imperial over the last 13 years.

“I greatly appreciate it and I hope they all continue to support the new operators and keep the Imperial alive and well,” Danesi said.

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Reg Domingo

Reg Domingo

Reg Domingo is the editor of SX.

Comments (3)

  • Andy

    27 August 2015 at 20:45 |
    In the 90s it was dance parties; in the naughty-teens it's clearly eating (note the Midnight Shift)

    Let's hope that it's not another 'cantina' or burgers joint

    reply

  • Lush

    27 August 2015 at 19:11 |
    Lisa Lush Once upon a time we'd hang in Nightclub's
    We'd meet up there to drink and bitch and screw
    Remember how we Danced away the hours
    Boasting 'bout the great things we would do

    Those were the days young queen
    To be seen out on the scene
    we'd sing and dance
    forever and a day
    We'd live the life we choose
    We'd fight and look good too
    For we were young
    and sure to have our way.
    La la la la...

    Then real life went rushing by us
    We lost our Friends and Family along the way
    If by chance we crossed paths at a party
    We'd steal some beer and giggle as we'd say

    Those were the days young queen
    To be seen out on the scene
    we'd sing and dance
    forever and a day
    We'd live the life we choose
    Love and laugh and look good too
    For we were young
    and everyone was gay
    .La la la la...

    Just today I read about the Impy
    Nothing looked the way it used to be
    reflections in a closed off window door frame
    Was that old grey woman really me

    those were the days young queen
    To be seen out on the scene
    we'd sing and dance
    forever and a day
    We'd live the life we choose
    Love and laugh and look good too
    For we were young
    and everyone was gay
    .La la la la...

    Down In Erskinville there came familiar laughter
    Imperial Hotel Ersknvl trade I forgot his name
    Oh Dead friends I'm older but no wiser
    In my head and in my mirror I'm still the same

    Straight, Bi and Gay my friend
    Transgender, Queers and Lez,
    We'd sing and dance forever and a day
    We'd live the life we choose
    We'd fight and never lose
    Those were the days,
    oh yes those were the days La la la la..

    reply

  • Paul

    27 August 2015 at 18:54 |
    We can't let this great venue lose it's vibrant history. I am feelin optimistic about this partnership

    reply

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