COCO’S proprietor Ian Love has purchased the Raffles Hotel site and will develop it into a restaurant and function venue.
“We’ve bought the original Raffles Hotel plus some adjoining real estate,” he said.
“We own the freehold and it’s something I have been negotiating with Multiplex for most of this year.
“I’m guessing it is about 1,500 square metres in the two-storey building and then there is about 400 or 500 square metres externally.”
Mr Love would not reveal the purchase price and said work would commence almost one year after the development of Multiplex’s apartment tower.
“We will probably begin about 10 to 12 months after Multiplex starts building the tower,” he said.
“They hope to be doing that in August or September.”
Mr Love said there were not many restrictions on the heritage-listed building and said no decision had been reached on a concept.
“It is a fantastic spot. We are not hard and fast on the concept yet,” he said.
“My 2IC and myself are going east next month to have a look at a couple of things.
“One of the venues we will look at is The Botanical in Melbourne which was all the rage in the early 1990s and they’ve recently spent $3 million refurbishing it and it’s popular again.
“Like a lot of successful hotels or taverns, they lead with the food side. Unless you have entertainment, which is hard to do long-term, you need that.
“In the top storey we would most likely have functions.
“The only thing we have to keep is the staircases and the fireplace but we will probably follow through the Art Deco theme.”
Mr Love is confident that his other proposal, to develop a restaurant above his Bellhouse Cafe on Mends Street Jetty, will eventually get approval from the Swan River Trust.
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