5 April 2024

'Visionary' operator sought to lease Pialligo Estate after sale falls through

| Ian Bushnell
Start the conversation

The Pialligo Estate landholding is now up for lease, a year after the hospitality, farm produce and tourism business of the same name collapsed. Photos: Colliers.

A hospitality operator is now being sought to lease the Pialligo Estate property after the site failed to sell last year.

The almost 13 hectares of land, reportedly valued at more than $30 million, was put on the market by the mortgagee after the collapse of the Pialligo Estate hospitality, farm produce and tourism business owned by Canberra businessman John Russell.

The business closed its doors in March 2023, owing more than $10 million to about 600 secured and unsecured creditors, including $4 million to the ATO, and the rest to more than 200 casual and full-time staff, as well as about 170 suppliers and 110 customers who had paid deposits for future bookings.

READ ALSO Project Coordination now owes $25 million, more projects impacted

Colliers has now listed Lot 4, 18 Kallaroo Road, for lease as a premier, established hospitality offering. The property includes an orchard, vineyard, olive grove and seating for up to 1450 patrons.

It calls the landholding an extraordinary opportunity for a visionary hospitality operator to craft a premier destination for functions, dining and wholesale excellence.

“With a history of strong function bookings and a promising revenue outlook, the estate’s well-maintained grounds, extensive river frontage, and proximity to Canberra CBD and the airport make it an appealing venue for various events,” the listing says.

It says Pialligo Estate offers six designated zones over about 1400 sqm, featuring a variety of bars, kitchens, dining spaces, restrooms, and indoor and outdoor entertainment spaces.

The sprawling site also includes an olive grove, orchard and vineyard.

As well as the olive grove, orchard and vineyard, there is an administrative block and parking for up to 80 cars in the main car park, plus 40 on-street parking and overflow parking for a further 200 vehicles.

The listing says, “With the potential for future trading exceeding expectations and the rise in domestic tourism, Pialligo Estate stands out as a promising opportunity for any visionary operator.”

The sale listing last year said the failed Pialligo Estate business had $3.5 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation.

The property had been labelled as under offer, but the sale did not proceed.

READ ALSO What commercial landlords need to know to top this market

After the business closed early last year, Mr Russell said the business had succumbed to a decade of setbacks, including two fires, the COVID-19 pandemic and rising interest rates.

However, liquidator Frank Lo Pilato from RSM Australia said these may have exacerbated the financial difficulties, but they were not the underlying reasons for the collapse of the business.

They acknowledged the COVID impact but put the business failure down to an inability to manage taxation affairs effectively, a lack of working capital, a net asset deficiency and accrued trading losses.

Unsecured creditors were left out of pocket.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.