January 4th, 2023The Rex sold to locals
Welcome to 2023. As is our custom for the first edition of a new year, this
edition of The Local is all about looking back. but with the story of the sale
of The Rex breaking over the past couple of weeks, we felt it was one we
could not miss.
HEPBURN Shire Council has named local entrepreneurs and
businesspeople Eddy and Malinka Comelli, and David and Yuge
Bromley, as the successful bidders in the purchase of The Rex
building in Vincent Street, Daylesford, following a public expression of
The building sold for $3.75 million. This was above the reserve price of $3.7
million, which was set in accordance with an independent property valuation and the
requirements of the Local Government Act 2020.
There was substantial interest in the purchase, and the council received six formal
Mayor Cr Brian Hood said the sale of the building marked the beginning of a
new chapter for the heritage property.
“The Comelli and Bromley submission was very strong. Their unconditional
offer was clearly the preferred bid, and their submission outlined a strong desire to
redevelop this property in a way that will benefit our community,” he said.
Both the Comelli and Bromley families live in Daylesford and have strong
connections in the community. They said they were looking forward to making the
most of The Rex’s potential.
“With both of our families local to the Daylesford community, the honour of
purchasing and developing this iconic building into a thriving destination spot for
both locals and visitors alike was our key driver,” Yuge Bromley said.
“We are truly honoured to have the privilege of purchasing this building. We will
take time to regroup and plan but our intention is to tap into our combined passions,
connections and resources to transform the building into an evolving dining, retail
and entertainment destination with a diversity of culture, food, art, music and
“We have some initial plans regarding the arcade and atrium, making it a place
where visitors local and from afar can frequent time and time again. Our driving
goal is to create a space that our children and grandchildren can look to with pride
for what the combined energies of the Comelli and Bromley families can bring to
Cr Hood noted that any works that fell outside the existing planning permit
would require planning approvals including heritage, which is separate to the sale
process. “The sale proceeds will be used to repay the loan linked to the purchase
of the site and remaining funds will be allocated into a financial reserve for future
expenditure on staff accommodation and community facilities,” Cr Hood said.
“We have already begun our planning, and we will progress our investigation into
options for staff accommodation and community facilities throughout 2023. This will
include community consultation.”
The council’s principal objectives of the sale process were to identify a proponent
with the financial capacity to purchase the land and develop the property; identify
a proposal which provided an economic and social benefit for the local community;
respond to the council plan; and achieve an optimal financial return to the council.
The EOI and sale process was overseen by an independent probity advisor to
ensure the transparency and integrity of the sale process. The marketing and sale
campaign was managed by real estate agent Fitzroys.
Cr Hood acknowledged the challenging history of the building since the council
purchased it in 2016. “The decision to sell The Rex was a complex one and we
appreciate there has been considerable interest in the building, its legacy and the sale
process. We are optimistic that the Comelli and Bromley families will breathe new life
into this historic building in the heart of Daylesford.”
Council’s original purchase of The Rex building and other matters relating to the
Hepburn at The Hub project remain under investigation by the Local Government
Above, inside The Rex as works originally got underway, inset above, Eddie
Comelli, inset below, artist David Bromley
Main image: Donna Kelly | Insets: Kyle Barnes