The transfer of Manly Wharf has been finalised, with the new freehold owners Howard Smith Wharves (HSW) taking custody on 21 June, after exchanging contracts with former proprietor Robert Magid’s TMG Developments on the $80 million sale.
In a media release sent to Manly Observer, HSW founder, Adam Flaskas, hinted at what we might expect once the wharf has been reimagined.
“We’re looking forward to deeply connecting with the Manly community and providing a family friendly, sustainable and cultural entertainment precinct, offering the freshest, highest quality produce to the local community and visitors of Manly Wharf.
“With such incredible history in the area, we’re excited to embark on this new journey, breathing new life into such an iconic site. Manly has a loyal community that welcomes people from everywhere to this special place where the harbour meets the beach.”
HSW Director, Paul Henry, added, “As a Sydney boy born and raised, I have many fond memories of Manly and its special offerings. I am so excited for what the HSW team plan to bring to Manly, respectful of its iconic history, the local community, the natural playground, and the visitors to our great city.”
“We’re looking forward to deeply connecting with the Manly community and providing a family friendly, sustainable and cultural entertainment precinct, offering the freshest, highest quality produce to the local community and visitors of Manly Wharf.”
HSW also purchased the Manly Wharf Hotel, aka The Wharf Bar, on the East Pier, for a reported extra $30 million.
Mr Flaskas enthused about the inclusion of the hotel. “We’re really looking forward to operating the Manly Wharf Hotel, which is right at the heart of the wharf and the local community. Team retention will be a key focus through the transition. This is a new and exciting chapter in Manly Wharf’s history.”
Manly Observer asked HSW whether they are implementing changes for Manly Wharf, such as bringing in new tenants, or making structural changes to the wharf itself.
A spokesperson handling the communications replied, “We will be in contact when we have more news to share regarding the project.”
TMG founder Robert Magid (producer of the 2016 documentary film Eyeless in Gaza, and owner of The Australian Jewish News and Property Weekly), commented wistfully on the sale of Manly Wharf, which TMG acquired in 1995 and advertised for sale in December 2022.
Magid revealed, “It was one of our first property purchases. We purchased it from receivers. It was built back to front with the back to the harbour; tenants not paying their rent.
“But we saw the great potential. We redesigned the wharf, took advantage of the amazing location, added a floor and brought in some excellent tenants.”
Referring to the new leaseholders, Mr Magid said, “We are delighted that we have sold the wharf to such a focused, imaginative and competent team and wish HSW to take the wharf to an international stage.”
The sale was brokered by CBRE, who describe themselves as “the global leader in commercial real estate services and investments… serving clients in more than 100 countries”
Who are Howard Smith Wharves?
Founded by property investor Adam Flaskas, HSW is a Brisbane-based firm that commissioned Hutchinson Builders to renovate the old dilapidated and abandoned wharves beneath the Story Bridge beside Brisbane River, which they purchased for $20 million.
The precinct previously consisted of a 175 metre jetty, office, four wharf storage and works buildings (a fifth collapsed and was washed away with a substantial section of timber decking in the 2000 Brisbane River flooding), and five WWII air raid shelters.
After submitting a Development Application in 2014, Hutchinson upgraded them into a “dining and lifestyle precinct” featuring bars, hotels, restaurants, event rooms and Felons Brewing, along a rebuilt timber boardwalk.
Interested in learning about the history of Manly Wharf? Read our piece here: The history of Manly Wharf