THE Imperial Hotel has a new owner and a new lease on life.
Tamworth businessman Michael Foxman bought the property on Friday, which has been on the market for more than two years, for the “great price” of $2.5 million.
“It’s got so much potential and it’s in a prime location – 26,000 vehicles drive past here every day,” Mr Foxman said.
“Buying it at that price allows me to make better decisions about how we better enhance the venue’s entertainment.”
In an exclusive with The Leader, Mr Foxman revealed his grand plans for the iconic hotel.
The front bar will be transformed in to a cafe and bar area called the ‘Impy Lounge’. The neighbouring bar will become a nightclub and dinner theatre area.
The outdoor beer garden will be turned into an Italian-style piazza, complete with a cobblestone floor, a gelato bar and Italian street food, while the infamous ‘Crave’ is set to become a fine-dining restaurant.
It’ll be less of a bar and more of a “multi-purpose entertainment facility”.
“We’ll be family orientated, so you can bring the kids, bring the whole family,” Mr Foxman said.
The upstairs bar is going to be turned into a brewery, with the hotel partnering with Nomad Brew Co to brew beer on site.
“If you’re a beer connoisseur, this is where you want to be,” Mr Foxman said.
The guest rooms are also getting a makeover.
“That’s the first thing we’ll be delivering, they were in pretty rough shape, so we’ve already started pulling them apart,” Mr Foxman said.
He’s hoping to have most of that done by the end of November.
“We’re not screwing around,” Mr Foxman said.
“We’ll renovate in a couple of phases, the first phase is just to tidy it all up.
“The second phase will be in November when we make the actual conversions, because that’s when the building materials arrive. We’re not doing a full tear-down renovate, we’re cleaning up, tidying up and re-purposing.
“Come February, after the country music festival, we’ll see if we’re on target and make bigger commitments from there.”
Mr Foxman said Tamworth was more than ready for the new and improved Imperial Hotel, which is set to shed it’s famous fade-pink paint for a coat of cream.
“In the last 18 months since I’ve been here, I’ve seen the restaurant scene evolve,” he said.