New plans to save 61 jobs and weddings at the Exchange Hotel emerge as investors wonder where their £15m went

0
20


New plans have emerged which could save the 61 jobs at risk at the beleaguered Exchange Hotel in Cardiff Bay and ensure that weddings left hanging in the balance with the hotel’s future could still go ahead.

The 30 investors who ploughed £15m into the redevelopment of the historic Coal Exchange building say they are determined to finish it and reopen the hotel to pay everyone back, despite the fact another £8m is needed to finish it.

The group of investors has been left wondering where their millions went after Signature Living Coal Exchange Ltd went into administration with just £17 in the bank.

The Signature Living company owns the building freehold and is currently going through the liquidation process but the investors are determined to “salvage something” from a complex company deep in debt.

Philip Ingman, speaking on behalf of all the investors who make up Coal Exchange Hotel LLP and own most of the the leasehold of the Exchange Hotel, admitted it was a “mammoth task” but said the group was determined to “get the building they paid for”.

Former Cardiff councillor and cabinet member for environment, Ashley Govier, has pledged to try his best to save the 61 jobs at risk at the hotel and ensure the many weddings which have been planned at the historic venue still go ahead.

Mr Govier has set up Eden Grove Properties Limited with a view to take on the operation of the hotel from Signature Living Coal Exchange Ops Limited.

His company has paid hotel staff wages up until the end of August meaning that no one has yet been made redundant, despite the ongoing administration process. Mr Govier has also applied for a premises licence for the hotel which had lapsed during the administration period. However, he has warned that not all weddings and events can be saved.



Couples like Leysha Xuereb and Jamie Attard who booked their big day at the Exchange Hotel have been left wondering if their weddings will go ahead

Mr Govier said Eden Grove Properties Limited had begun talks with Albendan, one of the biggest creditors of Signature Living, and The Coal Exchange LLP around the partial re-opening of the hotel and was hopeful the liquidators would accept his plan.

He said: “If the above two objectives are achieved, a partial opening of the hotel can occur, and although the new company will not be legally or financially liable for any events or weddings booked with Signature Living – and it is unlikely we can fulfil them all – we are working on a plan that will enable us to honour a number of those events, particularly weddings.

“Failure to achieve our intended outcome, including a significant delay in obtaining a premises licence, will result in job losses and significant further uncertainly for the hotel and those who have events and bookings.”

Mr Govier added that now was not the time to focus on “what went wrong”. He said: “Now, our focus in these very challenging times must be on enabling a partial re-opening of the hotel, protecting jobs and helping as many people as possible who made bookings with Signature Living.”

Coal Exchange Hotel LLP owns the 999-year lease on the Exchange Hotel building and has no connection to Lawrence Kenwright, the man behind Signature Living, or Signature Living itself.

Mr Ingham said: “Our investors injected substantial sums of over £15,000,000 into the development in return for Signature carrying out the conversion works and then paying a rental stream back to the LLP once the hotel opened.

“Signature Living Coal Exchange Ltd have clearly had cashflow problems for many months even before Covid -19 struck the country and forced the closure of the hotel. Rent was greatly in arrears and hence why the LLP appears on the creditor list. Similarly, a large portion of the works promised on the LLP-owned area were never finished even though they had been paid for. The works that had been finished were also well behind schedule.

“It therefore came as no surprise that Signature Living Coal Exchange Ltd became insolvent but the level of debt in the company and the chaotic nature of how it had financed the other half of the building soon came to light once Wilson Filed were appointed administrators and published their report on the assets and indebtedness of the company. It also appeared that a great deal of the money invested in this project was in fact used by Signature elsewhere in the group as can be seen from the inter-company loans in their accounts.

“Our investors aim is of course to get the works finished and prepare the hotel to open again so that it may trade and our investors get the building they paid for and the income return they set out to achieve.”

The group is planning to work with the Official Receiver and the appointed liquidator and has already paid to insure the building and cover security costs while it remains closed. Mr Ingham said categorically that the LLP will not entertain any suggestion of entering contracts with any representative or party linked to Signature Living Group.

Mr Ingham added: “Our investors have lost enough through dealing with Signature Living and prefer to be in control of their own destiny.”



Source link

قالب وردپرس

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here