Lend Lease has extended its footprint around Sydney Harbour with the stealth purchase of the building that is home to the Jacksons on George pub at the Circular Quay end of George Street.
The developer beat Blackstone, which owns the neighbouring Goldfields House and is said to have plans to redevelop it into apartments.
Lend Lease is said to have paid about $18.5 million for the property in which the popular pub is located.
The group already owns the air rights of the building and the adjoining office towers at 182 George Street and 33-35 Pitt Street, which it bought last year from Westpac for about $180 million. A Lend Lease spokesman declined to comment on the market speculation.
The property is part of a street block known as the ADPG Block (Alfred, Dalley, Pitt and George streets), which has been designated by the City of Sydney as having potential for redevelopment into a city square. Several sites within the ADPG Block have been earmarked for major commercial and residential development.
In April, PPB Advisory directors Marcus Ayres and Stephen Parbery were appointed as receivers and managers to several companies in the Kavia Holdings Group, which owned the Jacksons on George pub and three other venues.
Mr Ayres said at the time it was PPB's intention to have a period of trading followed by preparation of the venues for a going-concern sale.
The sale comes as two major floats are being prepared for launch over coming months. These include the John Singleton and Geoff Dixon-backed Australian Pub Fund, to be run by the Riversdale and Redcape Hotel groups.
Investors are warming to pubs, which for years struggled with high debts and receiverships when non-pub operators bought in high and were then forced to sell when they failed to meet loan repayments.