New operator announced for Exchange Hotel
Published on 27 October 2022
The new operators of the soon-to-be-refurbished Exchange Hotel in Pinjarra have been announced following endorsement by the Shire of Murray Council.
Hoteliers Karl and Janine Bullers have been endorsed by the Shire of Murray Council to become the operators of the renovated heritage destination when it reopens next year.
The couple, who both hail originally from Yorkshire in England, have a lifetime of experience in hospitality. They met in Hong Kong, where Karl was managing a venue and have built a reputation transforming unloved heritage buildings into successful eateries and pubs: the couple already co-own and manage the Old Courthouse in Fremantle and spent $5 million transforming the neglected site into a modern venue that protects its heritage and history.
They also own The National Hotel in Fremantle after purchasing the site following a devastating fire in 2009 that risked the property being razed.
Shire of Murray President Cr David Bolt said it was the care and attention the Bullers paid to that renovation project that captured the imagination of the Council for the Exchange Hotel.
“When we saw how Karl and Janine fought to preserve the history and heritage of The National Hotel whilst also making it modern and attractive to a contemporary audience, we knew they were the right people to shepherd the Exchange Hotel in the coming years.”
“We have an opportunity with the Exchange Hotel to create a unique destination in Pinjarra. We will blend more than 150 years of history and storytelling with a modern take on dining and hospitality that will bring people to the town 7-days-a-week”.
Karl Bullers said “The Exchange Hotel gives us an incredible opportunity to create another destination hospitality venue in one of the most beautiful regional settings on the doorstop of the metro area. Our experience in repurposing unloved heritage buildings into modern hospitality venues means we’re confident the Exchange Hotel will be a huge draw card for visitors across the region”.
The much-loved Exchange Hotel closed its doors in 2008 with the Council purchasing the site in 2012. In 2021, a shared community vision was developed for the site with a preliminary design concept report.
“Our community members tell us they want us to be effective stewards of our environment, history, heritage and rural character, and it’s clear that Karl and Janine share those same values,” said Cr Bolt.
$6.5 million will be spent on the redevelopment of the hotel with tenders being prepared by the end of the year, and an expected opening date of Christmas 2023.
In support of the site’s vision, a business case was developed estimating that the project has the potential to deliver $57.5 million of new economic output over five years into the local economy, create 67 direct, indirect and induced fulltime jobs and see more than 38,850new visitors to the Murray Region each year.
The venue will also be able to offer event space to host weddings, private events and farmers markets, as well as an outdoor edible garden, riverside dining and evening entertainment.
Through the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund grant, the Shire was successful in securing $2.335 million to support the redevelopment with the Shire of Murray Council committing the balance.
Listen to Karl Bullers talking about the project on 6PR below: