ANOTHER chapter was opened in the ongoing saga of Peterborough's Broadway theatre yesterday when it was put up for sale for nearly £4 million.
ANOTHER chapter was opened in the ongoing saga of Peterborough's Broadway theatre yesterday when it was put up for sale for nearly 4 million.City property agent Budworth Hardcastle was instructed to place the troubled entertainment venue on the market only four days after the company behind the theatre, Rinaldo Fasulo's 03 Leisure Ltd, went into liquidation with debts of more than 500,000.
Mr Fasulo has owned the premises since he bought it from fellow city entrepreneur Peter Boizot in 2004, but an arson attack in January sparked a chain of events which resulted in its closure and, ultimately, the collapse of the business.
But because Mr Fasulo owns the building through a separate firm, Prima Investments, any proceeds from its potential sale will not have to go towards paying off the theatre's hundreds of creditors – the vast majority of whom have already been told they will never be paid.
Mr Fasulo, whose other businesses include The Sessions House pub and restaurant in Thorpe Road, Peterborough, was not available for comment last night, but a spokesman for Budworth Hardcastle confirmed the company had set an asking price of 3.95 million.
Director Gavin Hynes said he was confident the building would be sold, but added that its potential new owners were not necessarily looking to maintain its existing use.
He said: "There is already good interest both locally and from out of the area, and we would expect a sale quite quickly.
"The building is in a good location in a rapidly expanding city and there are all sorts of uses that people have been suggesting – from converting it into apartments to knocking it down and building a car park."
The Broadway's troubles began on 25 January when a fire ripped through its main auditorium area following a break-in during which computers were also stolen.
Earlier this month, Mr Fasulo announced he was closing the venue for good after insurer Norwich Union rejected his 2.5 million claim because the building's fire alarm had not been properly set.
Last Thursday, his loss making theatre business was placed into liquidation with debts totalling 518,000 – including 283,000 owed to people who bought tickets for cancelled shows.
And with remaining company assets amounting to barely 15,000 and most of that sum set to be swallowed up by liquidators' fees, creditors were advised they would never be repaid.
Following the winding-up of his theatre business, Mr Fasulo called on the city's politicians and power brokers to help finance a package that could keep the theatre open.
But even at this early stage, it appears that Peterborough City Council is out of the running to take over the venue.
The city already has two other theatres in the Cresset and the council-owned Key, neither of which are run at a profit.
City council leader John Peach said: "I'm all for looking at ways to keep it open because it is a lovely facility, but I wouldn't like to give anybody the impression that we are giving any serious consideration to actually buying it."