Justin Hemmes and Madeline Holtznagel

Billionaire pub baron Justin Hemmes opens up on the ‘biggest challenge of his career’

PHOTO: Billionaire Justin Hemmes (pictured with model girlfriend Madeline Holtznagel)

  • Pub billionaire Justin Hemmes reveals latest plans for Sydney and Melbourne
  • Offered insight into his views on marriage and admits being guilty of having fun
  • He doesn’t plan to slow down despite long hours and sporting accidents 
  • But he was tight-lipped on the $129million staff class action against Merivale

Justin Hemmes has opened up on his ambitious new plans to build a skyscraper in Sydney’s CBD and expand his pub empire interstate.

The billionaire hotel baron plans to revamp his Ivy precinct by putting a tower on the site, develop his third entertainment zone in the Sydney CBD and shake up Melbourne’s pub scene.

Hemmes confidently laid out his ambitious plans in a profile with Good Weekend, which also quoted friends and rivals backing his chances of success.

Billionaire Justin Hemmes is set to take his biggest career risks by building a skyscraper and taking on a new city while continuing his hard-driving playboy lifestyle. (pictured with model girlfriend Madeline Holtznagel)

Billionaire Justin Hemmes is set to take his biggest career risks by building a skyscraper and taking on a new city while continuing his hard-driving playboy lifestyle. (pictured with model girlfriend Madeline Holtznagel)

pub baron

The sister of billionaire pub baron Justin Hemmes splashes out on a $7million weekend home

Having split with the mother of his two children, Kate Fowler, Hemmes now dates 26-year-old model Madeline Holtznagel, whom he affectionately calls 'Maddie mumu' (she is pictured posing on the island he part owns, Haggerstone Island)

Having split with the mother of his two children, Kate Fowler, Hemmes now dates 26-year-old model Madeline Holtznagel, whom he affectionately calls ‘Maddie mumu’ (she is pictured posing on the island he part owns, Haggerstone Island)

Justin Hemmes and Madeline Holtznagel

Billionaire pub baron Justin Hemmes expands his empire

Having split with the mother of his two children, Kate Fowler (pictured), Hemmes now dates model Madeline Holtznagel, whom he affectionately calls 'Maddie mumu'

Having split with the mother of his two children, Kate Fowler (pictured), Hemmes now dates model Madeline Holtznagel, whom he affectionately calls ‘Maddie mumu’

Justin Hemmes

Pub baron Justin Hemmes extends his property empire yet again after snapping up another iconic Sydney venue for $5million

Hemmes also opened up about his famously racy lifestyle which often sees him labelled a ‘playboy’.

‘[Is it] someone who has a lot of fun?’ Hemmes asked.

‘Maybe I’m guilty of that, but I get much more pleasure out of working, building and creating rather than living a life of leisure.’

Hemmes’ new plans for the Ivy site are vague but include a multi-use skyscraper that ‘blurs the lines’ between public spaces, work and partying.

He described the project as the ‘biggest challenge’ of his career and a ‘game changer’ for Merivale.

One estimate puts construction costs for the Ivy revamp at $300million.

While Hemmes gambles on spending up as he sends his iconic Ivy precinct skywards, he is set to build another buzzing Merivale zone around the Hotel CBD on King Street in Sydney.

His plans include glamming up properties at 50 King Street, 104 Clarence Street and 71 and 73 York Street to become signature Merivale showpieces.

One of his biggest rivals, fellow publican Stu Laundy, predicts Hemmes will succeed partly because he’s seen as ‘too big to fail’.

In the past year Hemmes has also begun serious moves on Melbourne, buying the seven-storey 1853 Tomasetti House, on Flinders Lane, in 2021 for $43million and the Lorne Hotel on the Great Ocean Road for $38million.

Young Justin Hemmes is pictured with his late father John, who became a successful businessman in the property market after emigrating from Europe. He survived a horrific spell as a World War II prisoner-of-war

Young Justin Hemmes is pictured with his late father John, who became a successful businessman in the property market after emigrating from Europe. He survived a horrific spell as a World War II prisoner-of-war

Justin Hemmes is known to adore his 90-year-old mother, Merivale (pictured, with her husband John Hemmes) - who Hemmes' billion-dollar empire is named after

Justin Hemmes is known to adore his 90-year-old mother, Merivale (pictured, with her husband John Hemmes) – who Hemmes’ billion-dollar empire is named after

Pub broker, Andrew Jolliffe, managing director of HTL Property, predicts Hemmes will succeed in Melbourne – and the man himself agreed.

Asked whether he can replicate his Sydney success in the Victorian capital, Hemmes responded that he could look at any hotel and estimate how much needed to be spent on it and how much it would make and be accurate ‘within 10 per cent’.

‘I see everything,’ he said.

Having split with the mother of his two children, Kate Fowler, Hemmes now dates model Madeline Holtznagel, whom he affectionately calls ‘Maddie mumu’.

At 26 years old she is 23 years younger than Hemmes, who turns 50 this August.

In mid-May he shared a video of Ms Holtznagel on his back while kite-surfing on holiday in New Caledonia, captioned with Snoop Dogg lyrics ‘when the pimp’s in the crib drop it like its hot’.

Hemmes plans to revamp the Ivy precinct by putting a tower on the site, develop his third entertainment zone in the Sydney CBD and shake up Melbourne's pub scene

Hemmes plans to revamp the Ivy precinct by putting a tower on the site, develop his third entertainment zone in the Sydney CBD and shake up Melbourne’s pub scene

Hemmes is set to build another buzzing Merivale zone around the Hotel CBD on King Street in Sydney

Hemmes is set to build another buzzing Merivale zone around the Hotel CBD on King Street in Sydney

In the past year Hemmes has also begun serious moves on the Melbourne pub scene. Pictured is the Lorne Hotel on the Great Ocean Road which Hemmes bought for $38million

In the past year Hemmes has also begun serious moves on the Melbourne pub scene. Pictured is the Lorne Hotel on the Great Ocean Road which Hemmes bought for $38million

He also bought the seven-storey 1853 Tomasetti House, on Flinders Lane, in 2021 for $43million

He also bought the seven-storey 1853 Tomasetti House, on Flinders Lane, in 2021 for $43million

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