Scare of the Dog for Bar entrepreneur

Despite having done most of the groundwork, three visits to The Alfred hospital's emergency department earlier this year were enough to make bar owner and art campaigner David Carruthers quit his dream to redevelop one of St Kilda's most prominent sites.

Despite having done most of the groundwork, three visits to The Alfred hospital's emergency department earlier this year were enough to make bar owner and art campaigner David Carruthers quit his dream to redevelop one of St Kilda's most prominent sites.

On July 4 the 49-year-old businessman, who just before Christmas had a tumour removed, will start downsizing his portfolio from five businesses to one.

The Dog's Bar at 54 Acland Street is the highest-profile asset to go.

Since buying the bar from Lion Nathan in 2001, Mr Carruthers spent eight years acquiring the strata-titled, individually owned apartments that form the upper levels of the three-level building.

He had planned to refit the building's rooftop for art and music events. Reconfiguring the residential component into boutique hotel suites or extending the bar were other possibilities.

"It's pretty clear my body is trying to send me a subtle message and it's time I started listening," Mr Carruthers said. "It's telling me I'm not 26 and invincible any more.

"In December I will have clocked up 12 years at Dog's Bar," he said. "During those years I've built our arts calendar to a crazy 500 events per year and been able to get heavily involved in my local community.

"My priorities have now changed, or been changed for me."

Gross Waddell's Andrew Waddell and Pride Real Estate's Margaret Duncan and Tony Pride said it was the first time the building had been offered for sale as a whole. It is expected to fetch about $8 million.

The Dog's Bar was opened in 1989 by the late Donlevy Fitzpatrick, who sold it to Lion Nathan in 2000.

Mr Waddell said Victoria had 2800 liquor licences when the bar opened. It now has about 25,000.

Email: marcpallisco

Twitter: @marcpallisco

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