Part of Belfast’s best known entertainment complex has been put into administration.
John Hansen of accountants KPMG last night confirmed he had been appointed as an administrator for Odyssey Pavilion LLP, which owns the 150-year lease to the complex.
The Pavilion houses bars, restaurants and a cinema next to the Odyssey Arena.
The business owes around £70 million to Anglo Irish Bank and the bank has triggered the administration.
It’s understood an offer of £62m from property company PBN Developments for the Odyssey Pavilion was refused by Anglo Irish Bank a few months ago.
But there are fears that Odyssey Pavilion could now be worth as little as £50m, leaving Irish taxpayers, who own the bank, facing a massive shortfall.
Belfast property developer Peter Curistan led the way in building the Odyssey, which is divided into the Odyssey Pavilion and Odyssey Arena, 12 years ago.
It emerged last year that his company, Sheridan Millenium, was in debt to Anglo Irish Bank. As part of the process to find a buyer the lease was transferred to Odyssey Pavilion LLP.
Mr Curistan said he was deeply unhappy at developments.
“When I go down, as I was on Saturday night to see Rod Stewart, and see the enjoyment it has brought to so many people in Northern Ireland — it’s an iconic building.
“But to turn round and see this iconic building put into administration by an Irish bank owned by an Irish government, which is going to hurt the people in Northern Ireland — I would say to our politicians to be wary, that this is only the start. Anglo Irish Bank has acted in hugely bad faith.”
He said he had consulted his lawyers. “They instructed me to go to the PSNI to inform them. I have done that and I’m currently putting together papers and documentation for them to decide whether they want to investigate.”
A spokeswoman for the Odyssey Trust, a charity which owns the Odyssey complex including the Arena, W5, the Pavilion and the car parks, said: “It is important to stress that this news does not affect the Arena or W5, nor as we understand will it affect the operations of tenants in the Pavilion in the short-term.
“In the coming days we will provide all possible assistance to the administrator to ensure that this important part of the Odyssey is protected.”
The Odyssey Pavilion was operating as normal last night.