Justin Hemmes’s Sydney-based hospitality group Merivale is adding to its Melbourne portfolio again, with the purchase of Kantay House at 12–18 Meyers Place in the CBD.

The news was reported yesterday by Real Estate Source. When Broadsheet contacted Merivale for confirmation, a spokesperson declined to comment.

The Harry Norris-designed art deco building is a converted warehouse space that dates back to the 1940s and currently houses cocktail bar Lily Blacks, Argentinian restaurant San Telmo and New York-style slice shop and speakeasy Pizza Pizza Pizza.

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Hemmes has been teasing Melbourne diners with the promise of a city venue for some time now. The group opened Totti’s Lorne, a regional Victorian outpost of the Sydney hotspot, earlier this year. Back in early 2021, Merivale purchased Tomasetti House, a seven-level brick and bluestone building at 277 Flinders Lane in the CBD, which is due to open in late 2023.

The group has remained typically secretive about the exact details of the venture, which is rumoured to include a Chinese restaurant led by Mr Wong chef (and Merivale favourite) Jowett Yu.

“Melbourne is a very special city, with a unique energy and an inimitable soul,” Hemmes said in a 2021 statement upon purchased the Flinders Lane building. “Its local hospitality industry is one of the best in the world, brimming with creative culinary talent and supported by a passionate community of diners. We are honoured to open our first venue in Melbourne and cannot wait to work alongside so many local industry greats.”

Merivale currently operates more than 80 venues and brands across Sydney, including respected restaurants Mr Wong, Totti’s, Mimi’s and Fred’s, as well as a number of bars such as Coogee Pavilion and Ivy in the CBD.