Two decadent four-storey Victorian terraces that were — until coronavirus reared its ugly head — home to Backpackers HQ have sold for $10 million. 

The two haunts, nestled on the leafy Victoria Street, were bought by Bruce Drayton and Simon Marsh back in 2011. The terraces had operated as a backpackers since 1982, but before that had been home to the cities first “themed” brothel.

Drayton and Marshall refurbished the terrace to host 22 rooms, with 124 guests. It would go on to be voted “Number one Hostel in Australia” in 2012 and “Best New Hostel in Australasia” in 2013.

With the coronavirus pandemic nixing all international travel, and the Australian property market booming, the pair decided it was time to close up shop.

“The houses have a fascinating history,” Mr Drayton told Domain. “When we were doing all the renovations, we came across all the electronic wires, presumably from the TVs playing porn or from CCTV in each room, and the dungeon which could next become basement storage.

“We’ve loved being here and operating the houses as a hostel, but I’m 64 next month and I felt it was time. It does feel a bit like the end of an era for this part of Potts Point, but it’s probably time for it to become much more residential.”

It is unclear whether the new buyer intends to continue to run the terraces as a hostel, consider a more boutique hotel or completely transform the buildings into private residential houses.

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Kanga House at 141 and 141A Victoria Street sold on Auction on March 20th for $11 million. The purchaser, Angus Geddes, intends to transform the heritage-listed property into a single private residence.

It’s a weird, bittersweet thing. As someone who has lived in the area for years, I can’t quite say I miss being harassed by men named Franz whose only fuel are 4-packs of cheese and bacon rolls from Coles. Though it definitely feels like the era of Kings Cross chaos is well and truly over.

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