Factory key player plans new venture despite nightclub debts
AS LIQUIDATORS mop up the mess that was Maroochydore nightclub Factory: The Project, a key player in the failed project is lining up her next venture.
While the Sunshine Plaza premise, which in the past had played home to both the Pig N Whistle and Cow and Anchor remains vacant, creditors, among them Cotton Tree Meats, Lendlease Property Management, Suncoast Cabs and Sunshine Coast Brewery, continue to chase their money.
Since its closure in February it has been revealed that Factory: The Project operators Raw Group Sunshine Plaza Pty Ltd, directed by Zeke Rowland, owed more than $400,000 to creditors across the country, including $115,000 to 28 Coast businesses.
There were no signs the money would be recouped, with no payments to creditors to date.
The Australian Taxation Office was also owed more than $70,000, while former employees were owed a total of about $45,000.
Despite the debts, Mr Rowland's wife, Claire de Lune, revealed on her Facebook page her excitement at the opening of another hospitality venture on the Sunshine Coast, Bird on a Buffalo, to open in August.
"I'm very excited to announce that I have a new little hospitality venture coming soon for all you travellers and gatherers," her Facebook page read.
"It will be rustic. It will be heart felt. It will be clean and natural.
"It will be unique with a very simple colour palette and gorgeous natural textures and of course the best and freshest food and drink.
"I'm excited to bring you something simple and luuurverly (sic). Opening on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland August 2015."
When contacted by the Daily, Ms de Lune declined to comment on her venture or on the liquidation of her husband's company.
Lendlease, Sunshine Plaza's management firm, said the search was still on to find a suitable replacement at the prime position within the shopping precinct.
Local creditors contacted were not keen to talk about the money owed, but liquidator FTI Consulting, via senior managing director Nathan Landrey, said it was finalising its investigation.
Mr Landrey said its findings would be handed to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, but added it was unlikely unsecured creditors would get their money back.
Meanwhile Maroochydore Chamber of Commerce president Joe Riba said local operators hoped a venue complementing those in Ocean St would be developed at the Sunshine Plaza site that had been occupied by Factory: The Project nightclub.