Picton’s iconic George IV Inn is to remain a traditional pub with the new owners aiming to restore and reopen the much loved district watering hole within three to four months.
Business partners Adam Cryer and Ross Robinson bought the historic venue at auction this morning for $3.125 million.
The pub, which was significantly damaged during a storm last year, was sold by its former owner Patrick Moloney following the insurance company Assetinsure’s refusal to cover the damage claim.
“We want to refurbish and restore the George to its former glory,” Mr Cryer said.
“Stage one will see the pub up and running again,” Mr Robinson said.
“Stages two and three will see the dilapidated areas such as the function room, transformed into a family-food venue.
“We want to keep the charm of the pub for the locals as well as making it a destination for the families to flock to and also a function venue for weddings and birthdays.
“Everyone wants to see the George up and running again.”
Mr Robinson said they would like to see the George open three months after settlement, if not sooner.
“There is nothing holding us back,” he said.
“It is a standard settlement of 42 days so we hope it is up and running in three or four months.”
Mr Cryer said stage one would require a lot of money and co-operation from Wollondilly Council.
“Once we get into the venue with our builders I think we will be opening Pandora's box because we have only seen it on the surface,” he said.
“There is a lot of work involved but we are prepared for it.”
Mr Cryer said the bones of the venue were still good but there was a lot of internal work to do including the kitchens, electrical, fire systems, flooring and more.
The partners said the purchase was “emotional”.
“We are not coming in as developers or a large group of publicans,” Mr Cryer said.
“This a sentimental love job. We were attracted to the venue’s history and story.”
Mr Cryer grew up in Campbelltown and has a close affinity to the area and Mr Robinson said as a ‘Pom’, the George would be like an English pub for him.
“I didn’t sleep well last night because I am so passionate about the pub,” Mr Cryer said. “This wasn’t a flippant purchase from an investor.
“We want it to be the venue of choice for businesses, locals, sporting clubs and community groups.
“We hope that Sydney-siders flock to the area. We want it to put Picton on the map again.”
The partners, who both live in the Sutherland Shire, have been interested in the George since October last year and they have had several conversations with the previous publicans and the council.
“We are keen to work in partnership with council,” Mr Cryer said.
“We want to engage the community in the rebirth of the George.”
The partners have already set up a meeting with the council and mayor Judith Hannan to talk about the next steps forward.
Mr Cryer and Mr Robinson have been in business together for 10 years as entrepreneurs in the private education sector.
The George is not the first pub owned by the pair. Mr Robinson also has an investment in a licenced venue in the Sutherland Shire.
The partners said they looked forward to holding community events at the pub such as Anzac Day and Australian Day.
“We are ambitious so we would like to see our vision of the George fully realised in about two years,” Mr Robinson said.
He said the George had the potential to also have a paddock-to-plate restaurant and he also wants to get the micro-brewery facility working again..
“Wouldn’t it be great to get local pale ale out in the shire – that is a personal passion of mine.”
The partners will employ a publican to run the inn.
Ray White Hotels marketing agent Blake Edwards said the result was “fantastic”.
“Ultimately the vendor was pleased and it was good to see the asset sold to people who appreciate the historical significance of the venue and its importance to the community,” he said.
“The new owners have big plans for the inn.”