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Neil Perry banks on new Double Bay restaurant

Australian Financial Review .

Chef Neil Perry says activity and life has returned to Sydney’s eastern suburbs “villages” after committing to a 10-year lease for a new neighbourhood restaurant that will open in May in leafy Double Bay.

Neil Perry banks on new Double Bay restaurant

The as yet unnamed restaurant will anchor Pallas House Sydney, a low-rise building at 30-36 Bay Street, which developer Fortis acquired for $32 million in 2019 and is repositioning as an A-Grade commercial offering at a cost of $12 million.

It will be Mr Perry’s first new venture since he retired in July as culinary director and ambassador of the struggling Quadrant Private Equity-owned Rockpool Dining Group, which acquired his mainly CBD-based chain of high-end steak houses and modern Asian restaurants in 2016 for $60 million.

Mr Perry told The Australian Financial Review developments like the Double Bay one being undertaken by Fortis were bringing people back into the suburbs.

“I still think the city is fantastic and will come back to life, [but] the suburbs have come back pretty strong,” he said. “Double Bay has a great future. It has a really nice blend of commercial, retail and residential. We believe that over the next 10 years we can have a good run in the new normal.”

His 178-seat modern Australian-style restaurant – his first entirely solo venture in more than 40 years in the business – will occupy a 419-square-metre space on the ground floor of the four-storey commercial building, which Fortis has fully leased prior to its completion in April.

Also on the ground floor, chef Damien Monley will open an all-day dining concept in a 108-square-metre space while, above ground, Financial Review Rich Lister Tony Denny’s Central Real property development company is opening an office on level two.

Pallas Group, the parent company to Fortis and real estate fund manager Pallas Capital, will occupy the top two levels of the development.

While the rental rate is confidential, Mr Perry said he was getting “good square metreage” for the rent he was paying in Double Bay. He said tenants had more bargaining power since the pandemic.

“With landlords there are opportunities now to have more discussions than there were [pre-COVID-19] to ensure things in the lease are fair to all parties,” Mr Perry said.

Pallas House Sydney, which occupies a prime, north-facing position at the crossroads of Guilfoyle Avenue and Bay Street, is expected to have an end value of about $130 million when completed.

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