Canberra entrepreneur acquires Commercial Hotel in Yass

Hannah Sparks 12 May 2021 39
Exterior of Commercial Hotel in Yass

The derelict Commercial Hotel on the main street of Yass has changed hands. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The major shareholder of Public Bar in Manuka and the founder of Canberra’s largest accounting firm, Walter Turnbull, has taken over the derelict Commercial Hotel on the main street of Yass.

Andrew Turnbull is also part of a Canberra-based syndicate that recently purchased five pubs in the NSW Central West for $75 million.

Investment Management Group now owns the Royal Hotel in Orange, the Dudley Hotel in Bathurst, the Castlereagh Hotel in Dubbo, the Federal Hotel in Wellington, and the Federal Hotel in Mudgee.

Mr Turnbull will renovate the Commercial Hotel, which has been neglected since 2005, with his brother-in-law Anthony Barrie.


READ ALSO: Mechanics ‘inundated’ following Mobil Yass fuel error


The pair has established a shelf company, Commercial Hotel Yass Pty Ltd, and has two years to finalise plans and purchase the property.

Sydney developer Michael Rastegorac has been removed from the project after working on hotel plans that included an apartment complex, shops and a restaurant since 2017. He declined to comment.

Commercial Hotel owner Warren Hall said Mr Rastegorac’s plans were taking too long and had never been lodged with Yass Valley Council.

Mr Turnbull grew up in Yass and was behind the 92 lot subdivision at Hatton Park. He is also in the process of subdividing land at Iceton Place.

Exterior of Commercial Hotel in Yass

Canberra entrepreneur Andrew Turnbull plans to redevelop the Commercial Hotel in Yass into a family-friendly pub similar to The Sir George in Jugiong. Photo: Jan Smith.

While researching potential pub investments in NSW, he saw the opportunity to buy the Commercial Hotel and create an establishment similar to The Sir George in Jugiong.

He hopes the redevelopment will attract people out of Canberra, with Canberrans already driving 40 minutes further west to drink, dine and stay at The Sir George.

The Commercial Hotel will become a family-friendly pub with strong food, beverage, entertainment and accommodation offerings that can double as a conference and wedding venue, said Mr Turnbull.

“It’s a large block so we’ve got the ability to create some good outdoor entertainment areas, but still make it cosy inside for the depths of winter,” he said.


READ ALSO: Take a closer look to discover the hidden retail treasures of Yass


While the Commercial Hotel isn’t heritage listed, Mr Turnbull intends to retain its heritage features, such as the large verandah that hangs above the main street.

It will require a lot of work, with the building in ruin from vandals and thieves who routinely smash their way through what’s left of the building, but Mr Turnbull is confident he and Mr Barrie can get the job done.

“It’s going to be expensive but if we get it right, it will open up as a great venue for Yass and Canberra people to look at as a corporate and entertainment venue,” he said.

“I’m also hoping it will become a destination for people from Sydney who are willing to go a bit further than Bowral.”

The pair has begun working with an architect firm and Mr Turnbull said Yass Valley Council has been supportive of their preliminary discussions.

He said they will lodge plans with council as soon as possible.

Original Article published by Hannah Sparks on About Regional.


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39 Responses to Canberra entrepreneur acquires Commercial Hotel in Yass
Steve Ross Steve Ross 12:01 pm 11 May 21

Good news. Sad to see this old building slowly disintegrating.

Michele Gorman Michele Gorman 1:23 pm 11 May 21

Great to hear that a developer has respect for old buildings Robert Gorman

David Zakharoff David Zakharoff 2:46 pm 11 May 21

Cube Whyte.... any memories of this place?? Any at all??

Scott Humphries Scott Humphries 4:16 pm 11 May 21

I hope they keep the tipped cocktail glass sign :)

Katrina McGrath Katrina McGrath 7:02 pm 11 May 21

Lyn Smith, Jodie Roberts, Sarah Friesen, I think we own shares in this 😀

    Jodie Roberts Jodie Roberts 7:04 pm 11 May 21

    Katrina McGrath maybe they’ll give us a discount

Meryl McKerrow Meryl McKerrow 7:46 pm 11 May 21

Owen little bit exciting

Kim Meale Kim Meale 7:53 pm 11 May 21

Taylor Shaw this is gonna be abit fancy

    Taylor Shaw Taylor Shaw 7:55 pm 11 May 21

    Kim Meale don’t get your hopes up, Yass council will do its best to make it impossible as usual 🤦🏻‍♀️

    Kim Meale Kim Meale 8:07 pm 11 May 21

    Taylor Shaw damn it 😔

Ned Marsh Ned Marsh 8:39 pm 11 May 21

Big investment from the boys Darcy Paine

Kirrily Belle Kirrily Belle 9:51 pm 11 May 21

The poor place couldn’t get any worse

    Karen Leach Karen Leach 7:05 pm 12 May 21

    Kirrily what’s wrong with Yass ?

    Kirrily Belle Kirrily Belle 7:27 pm 12 May 21

    Karen Yass is fine .... That poor pub is in terrible shape though

Daniel Slater Daniel Slater 10:30 pm 11 May 21

Daniel Gerrard watch out the inner south of Canberra is spreading.

Kimberley Larson-Rodger Kimberley Larson-Rodger 3:10 am 12 May 21

Jess Puddick how cool is this

    Jess Puddick Jess Puddick 6:49 am 12 May 21

    Kimberley love it, so excited for it to be restored!

Andrew Pirie Andrew Pirie 5:07 am 12 May 21

Canberrans can't even travel from south to North Canberra let alone drive one of the worst roads and most policed roads in the country to sink a few coldies. They should concentrate on looking after the Yass locals( and travellers through) 1st or it will end up another Aussie Hotel/Yass hotel disaster.

Juergen Voss Juergen Voss 6:49 am 12 May 21

More townhouses?

Trevor Hicks Trevor Hicks 8:17 am 12 May 21

About time 👍

Neil Thompson Neil Thompson 8:34 am 12 May 21

Andrew Turnbull, great bloke to get on the piss with as well.

Lyn Smith Lyn Smith 12:00 pm 12 May 21

They'd better! It would be great to see this restored!

Lynda Galt Lynda Galt 12:13 pm 12 May 21

Good luck it will be great for Yass

Tyler Greenhalgh Tyler Greenhalgh 7:42 pm 12 May 21

Even more crazy news coming out of Yass 😱😱 Patrick McFarlane

    Patrick McFarlane Patrick McFarlane 7:44 pm 12 May 21

    Tyler Greenhalgh it’s all happening

    Sam Gibson Sam Gibson 7:31 pm 13 May 21

    Tyler Greenhalgh Yass > Sutton Patrick McFarlane

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 8:17 pm 12 May 21

Used to be a great place for a very satisfying, old-style pub lunch, particularly at this time of year – well worth the trip from Canberra, with a pleasant stop, or two, on the way. Hopefully, the restoration won’t be too swishy.

Neil Marr Neil Marr 5:25 pm 13 May 21

I remember when the Wallace family from Campbell owned it around 1970 ?

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