Riverside Sports Bar & Restaurant, at Sunshine Plaza, is now for sale.
Riverside Sports Bar & Restaurant, at Sunshine Plaza, is now for sale. Contributed

Sunshine Coast pub hits the market

A MAROOCHYDORE pub is back on the market.

The Sunshine Plaza venue became Riverside Sport Bar and Restaurant in late 2015 after a string of business owners abandoned the site.

In early 2015, the venue, which had been trading as Factory: The Project, hit the headlines when its then-owners closed suddenly, leaving nearly half a million dollars in debt.

Before that it had been the Cow and Anchor for a year and the Pig 'n' Whistle.

Malcolm Mercer, one of the two directors of Riverside Sports Bar & Restaurant, is moving away from hospitality after 20 years, hence the current sale.

"He's not a young fella," hospitality sales executive Chris Cameron, of PRD Nationwide Commercial, said.

"Effectively most of his hospitality assets, he's diversifying from. He just wants a change."

Mr Cameron said he hoped this time would prove to be the perfect time for the pub with the major redevelopment of Sunshine Plaza on the cards.

Riverside Sports Bar and Restaurant and Level 2 Nightclub at Sunshine Plaza and (below) the front page of the Sunshine Coast Daily in March 2015.
Riverside Sports Bar and Restaurant and Level 2 Nightclub at Sunshine Plaza and (below) the front page of the Sunshine Coast Daily in March 2015. John McCutcheon

 

Riverside had been for sale for a week and inquiries have come from as far as Sydney and Melbourne.

"There's been a lot of activity on it," Mr Cameron said.

"It's probably a stand-out hospitality opportunity for the Sunshine Coast - it's a big venue, 946sq m and two levels."

Popular pizzeria Zachary's leased the restaurant space downstairs, and is understood to be doing a healthy trade.

Most potential buyers have been interested in putting "their own stamp" on the eatery site, but Zachary's may continue if the new owner supports it, he said.

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As the venue is a licenced hotel, the new operator could establish a liquor bar, gaming room or bottle shop, he said.

"More importantly, it's got a major footprint of traffic there," he said.

"It's in a perfect position. It just needs someone to take it to the next level."

The business, which has a long-term lease at the Lendlease-owned site, has no price tag and tenders now being accepted.

A silent auction-like process was a way to "test the market", Mr Cameron said.

"The Plaza is going to be the biggest shopping experience on the Sunshine Coast and...of course Riverside with its perfectly positioned to capitalise on that."

Coast musician Mark Deighton used to play at the former Pig 'n' Whistle in the 1990s, at the site, and said he'd pondered what the venue needed for years.

"I don't really know the answer - I've been scratching my head over it," he said.

If it's to become a venue people will flock to, it'll need something "really unique" he said.

Rhys Fox, from Coast band Bearfoot, said he felt the pub had worked well when it was just that - a pub.

Open-mic nights at the venue's large beer garden have attracted some punters over the years, but it wasn't a space that would prosper as a live music venue.

"We've already got two really good venues across the road - Piano Bar as well as Solbar," he said.

"If I wanted to see live music, I want to go to a dedicated live music venue. It needs to be sound proofed, and done properly, and that's expensive."


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