Capital Bluestone next to have a go at City Tatts?

Is there any significance to Capital Bluestone taking a full page ad in the City Tatts magazine?

Marcelo Veloz knows them from Cronulla Leagues Club where they were doing that club’s property development when he arrived.

The ad itself is frightening. You could sum it up in one line: “Our aim is to persuade clubs to hand over their main asset, their land, so we can make money from it“.

And when it comes to getting your hands on a club’s land, there is no bigger prize in New South Wales than City Tatts.

But when all is said and done it is doubtful if Capital Bluestone will ever do anything at City Tatts. Well, Mirvac tried and failed. The Chinese developer, with the reputed backing of Sino-Ocean Land, tried and failed. So there is no reason to believe Capital Bluestone would do any better.

But, more than anything else, the threat of a jail sentence will probably keep them away from City Tatts.

City Tatts Information Desk


Is Pat Campion telling us the property development is over?

Did anyone read the latest club magazine?

In the Chairman’s Bulletin there are some very strange proposals. Well, strange for a club that has spent the last five years pursuing a property development at any cost.

This is what Pat Campion is proposing now:

  • A new cafe open to the public at 196 Pitt Street
  • Leasing another part of 196 Pitt Street to the TAB
  • Altering the Lower Bar

But what does that tell us about the property development?

If these changes happen there is no way the property development could proceed, because those areas are essential for the property development they promoted to members.

The only logical conclusion is that Pat Campion has given up on the property development.

But he doesn’t say that!

It’s a strange way to communicate with members.

City Tatts Information Desk

How exactly did Cafe 2 lose so much money?

After a while you become numb from hearing about the losses racked up by the various food and beverage outlets under Tony Guilfoyle.

But it’s still a mystery how they could lose so much.

Cafe 2 managed to lose around $3000 a week on average in recent years.

How is that possible?

It’s run on the smell of an oily rag. It has to be the most tawdry cafe in the history of City Tattersalls Club.

Now, the trading figures for the various restaurants and bars released to members are reputed to include a hefty expense allocation for depreciation and advertising.

But there would have been nothing left to depreciate in the last few years. Most of the kitchen equipment was there already from the Games Room snack bar in 2008. And they spent little or nothing on anything new. So everything would have already been written down to nil.

That just leaves advertising.

But what possible advertising could they be using to get anyone to go to Cafe 2? So how much of the advertising spend really belongs to it?

Maybe there is a more nefarious explanation for the losses?

City Tatts Information Desk

Zest is the real problem

Zest is the real problem at City Tatts.

It always has been the problem, from the day it opened.

Everything changed at City Tatts the day Zest opened. It proved that the Committee and senior management were totally out of touch with members, and didn’t seem to care. They went from a hugely popular smorgasbord to a plain, but expensive, restaurant that appealed to the Committee only because it was free to them. If the Committee had to pay for their meals from their own pockets they would have closed Zest within a year.

Zest was a two finger salute to the members. And members responded by voting with their feet. For the first time in living memory members would leave the Club to get something to eat.

And it was a financial disaster. It cost millions to build, although the finished article was rather dull, just an ordinary restaurant with very high prices. To date, the accumulated losses top $5 million. Yes, $5 million. And it cannibalised the limited Esperanto trade, which struggled ever since.

So how does closing Cafe 2 solve the problem?

City Tatts Information Desk

End of sad Cafe 2

Tony Guilfoyle’s 12 years as CEO were a long string of disasters. (See previous blog Guilfoyle’s Record)

Cafe 2 was one of these.

It’s clear that Cafe 2 was only ever an afterthought.

The space now used for Cafe 2 was the old Games Room. It had snooker tables, card tables, a TAB kiosk, a television viewing area and a snack bar.

In 2008 Guilfoyle decided to downsize the Games Room and move it to Level 1.

At the time Zest restaurant was his pride and joy. He even advised staff to say “Zest is our number one restaurant” if a member asked where to get a meal. Yes, he actually said this.

He was so delusional, and so out of touch with members, that he actually believed members would pay $40 every day for a simple lunch. The fact that he, and the Committee, eat there for free just made them more out of touch than they already were.

Well, he was wrong. Badly wrong. Members rejected Zest within a few weeks.

So in desperation Guilfoyle decided to use the old Games Room, which by then looked like an empty warehouse, for a restaurant members would actually go to.

But he didn’t spend anything to make it into a restaurant. You only have to take one look at it to know this. He just put some tables and chairs in the empty space. This was in stark contrast to the millions spent on Zest.

So it was an embarrassment from the day it opened. Even the staff were embarrassed by it.

And it racked up horrendous losses, over half a million in just the last four years.

That meant it was a failure in every way.

But a perfect symbol of Guilfoyle’s time at City Tatts.

City Tatts Information Desk

Sun setting on City Tatts property development?

The Development Management Agreement between City Tattersalls Club and the developer has a number of “sunset clauses”.

These are standard in property developments involving an owner and a developer, and allow either party to walk away if certain milestones are not achieved by certain dates.

One of the City Tatts DMA sunset clauses allows either party to walk away if they have not got a Stage 1 DA acceptable to the developer within 21 months of signing the agreement.

If the DMA was signed in December 2015, following the meeting, then the 21 months are up now.

So it will be interesting to see the next move from the Club, or the developer.

The consensus in the property industry is that this attempt is over.

City Tatts Information Desk

194 Pitt Street – Ten Years Later

On Tuesday 25th September 2007 the Committee of City Tattersalls Club held a special General Meeting to tell members it had agreed to buy 194 Pitt Street for $9 million.

At the time the rumour around the Club was that the Committee only decided to call the meeting after a barrister threatened to take them to the Supreme Court if they didn’t.

Present at the meeting were the Chairman, John Healy, the Vice Chairman, John Kennedy along with Laurie Coy, Jim Chen, Paul Cavallaro, Bill Hurley and Kevin Smith.

Tony Guilfoyle and Mark Cooper were there representing the management.

Anyway, you know the rest.

The purchase was an absolute disaster and crippled the Club from that day forward. None of the benefits promised to members ever materialised. Even today, September 2017, only one floor out of eight has ever been used. (See previous blogs 194 Pitt Street Hoax)

And Tony Guilfoyle’s dream of a property development, the only reason for buying it, looks as far away as ever.

City Tatts Information Desk