Buckingham Arms pub to close

In Alcohol, Featured Home Page News, South Australia

Another Adelaide dining institution is set to close its doors and is another victim of the covid pandemic, after doing it tough for 2 years the Buckingham Arms Hotel hasn’t been able to recover from the long-term effects of the lockdowns.

The historic pub opened for business around 1846 and was renowned for its smorgasbord.

The owners of the Buckingham Arms Hotel looking to offload the site to developers.

Matthews Hospitality chief executive Andrew Kemp said “The location is ideally suited to serve the community’s needs for city-fringe housing, incorporating retail and other facilities such as health services and business offices.”

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Another Adelaide dining institution is set to close its doors, with the owners of the Buckingham Arms Hotel looking to offload the site to developers.

The historic pub opened for business around 1846 and was renowned for its smorgasbord introduced by the Matthews family in 1955.

However the smorgasbord was removed from the menu during the height of Covid, and has failed to make a return since the easing of dining restrictions.

Matthews Hospitality chief executive Andrew Kemp said the popularity of smorgasbord dining was on the decline, and it was time for a developer to breathe new life into the Gilberton site.

“There is a sense of nostalgia as the hotel has been part of the Matthews family since 1955,” he said.

“The smorgasbord was enjoyed by generations of South Australians. However, even pre-Covid diners were moving away from the smorgasbord and Covid hit the venue hard.

“We believe it is time to consider a change in the use of this location to serve the community in a different way.

“The location is ideally suited to serve the community’s needs for city-fringe housing, incorporating retail and other facilities such as health services and business offices.”

Matthews Hospitality secured a rezoning of the expansive 6200sq m site earlier this year, enabling residential and mixed-use development of up to six storeys.

An “incentive policy” in the new zoning rules that apply to the site would allow for taller buildings where the development delivers “specified and measurable performance outcomes”.

The original two-storey stone building on the corner of Walkerville and Northcote terraces has a local heritage listing.

International property firm Colliers has been appointed to sell the site, which will hit the market next week.

The pub will continue to trade while its owners negotiate a sale with potential buyers.

Colliers national director Alistair Mackie expects the property to attract interest from local and interstate developers.

“The property is undoubtedly one of the most premium development opportunities to be offered to the South Australian market in recent decades,” he said.

“The opportunity will appeal to developers and owner-occupiers seeking to develop the site to accommodate a range of opportunities including medium-density luxury apartments, build-to-rent, tourist accommodation, retail, vertical retirement and/or aged care, healthcare, commercial and/or mixed-use.”

Aerial view of the Buckingham Arms site, which will be offered to developers. Picture: Supplied by Colliers

Aerial view of the Buckingham Arms site, which will be offered to developers. Picture: Supplied by Colliers

The Buckingham Arms will become the latest on a long list of well-known Adelaide restaurants to close their doors in recent months, including the iconic Pranzo, La Tombola and Cork & Cleaver venues, which all operated for decades before their recent closures.

Pizza Hut’s last-remaining restaurant – in Marion – announced its closure last week, while Sushi Train in the CBD will also shut.

Matthews Hospitality is one of the state’s largest family-operated hospitality groups, operating nine venues including the Feathers and Maylands hotels and the recently acquired Bentleys Hotel in Clare.

It recently sold the historic Colhurst House B&B mansion in Mount Gambier for $1.4m.

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