The grand Palace up for sale

Tuesday, 21st March, 2017

The owners of the Palace Hotel have made the difficult decision to put the business up for sale. Partners (from left) Fisk Nagas, Selina La Rovere-Nagas, Esther La Rovere, Katie Shoobridge and Dave Shoobridge took the time yesterday to soak up the atmosphere of the famous Priscilla room, one of the 42 rooms in the iconic hotel. The owners of the Palace Hotel have made the difficult decision to put the business up for sale. Partners (from left) Fisk Nagas, Selina La Rovere-Nagas, Esther La Rovere, Katie Shoobridge and Dave Shoobridge took the time yesterday to soak up the atmosphere of the famous Priscilla room, one of the 42 rooms in the iconic hotel.

By Daniel Stringer

One of the most famous buildings in Broken Hill is set to go on the market. 

The Palace Hotel is one of the biggest attractions for locals and tourists alike and is it now set to change hands as the current owners look to move on. 

For the last eight years the hotel has been owned in partnership by local couples Selina La Rovere-Nagas and Fisk Nagas, Todd and Kellie Spain, Dave and Katie Shoobridge and Esther La Rovere. 

Since taking over operations in 2009, Esther La Rovere has served as Managing Director of the hotel and says that while it was a reluctant decision, the time was right to move on.

“Basically one of the partners is leaving town and the other partners are no longer in a position to commit as much time as the business needs,” she said. 

“We have had a good eight years in the business and not everybody is willing to commit to the same level or even more moving forward.  

Rather than going through a third party, the partners have made the decision to sell the property themselves through a private sale. The announcement was only made public on Friday morning during the Sunrise TV broadcast, but Ms La Rovere said interest has already started to come in.

“The package will be ready in about a week and interested buyers will be able to come and have a look and make enquiries.

“We have already had some verbal interest from parties and I think this week the interest is going to spread like wildfire.”

In Australia’s first heritage-listed city, few buildings have more history than the Palace.

The three-storey building was built in 1889 and originally served as a coffee house, and later as a home for World War One veterans .

The Palace is more than just an iconic building however, as it is also the centre of the Broken Hill social scene.

Made famous as the setting for Priscilla Queen of the Desert, the pub is also known among locals and tourists for features such as drag shows and being the only licensed venue in Australia where two-up is played year round.

Ms La Rovere says she can’t imagine any of these features not surviving the handover.

“I can’t see any good operator in their right mind who would want to make any of those changes.

“The Palace is the only venue to host two-up all year round, which is an amazing drawcard for the venue and Broken Hill and should be utilised.” 

Given the success of the business and its national and international reputation, the Palace is expected to attract a price tag of three to four million dollars. But Ms La Revere said that given her strong connection to the business, for her the buyer was more important than the money.

“I think I can speak on behalf of all the partners when I say that we have tried to keep this building true to its roots and we would hate to see someone come in and make drastic changes. 

“Certainly if someone said they intended to paint over murals or anything like that, then that would be a deal breaker.” 

The last eight years have been in Ms La Rovere’s words “an amazing and rewarding time”, with her only regret not documenting the interesting people who passed through the doors.

“We have always said we should have kept a book of people that we have had through here.

“There has been a never-ending stream of interesting people through the doors and not just celebrities but people with amazing stories and links to the building.”

The owners are open to any prospective buyers, so for anyone who has a few million lying around it would be well worth considering. In the meantime, however, it will be business as usual for the hotel until a buyer is found.