Northern Ireland

Part of Odyssey in administration

Part of the Odyssey entertainment complex in Belfast has gone into administration.

Accountancy firm KPMG has been appointed to find a buyer for the Odyssey Pavilion.

That part of the complex, which is controlled by the property developer Peter Curistan houses bars and restaurants.

The Odyssey said business will continue as usual.

Peter Curistan was instrumental in building the showpiece venue 12 years ago.

He owned the 150-year lease on the pavilion, under whose roof are several bars and restaurants.

But a year ago, the BBC reported the most up-to-date accounts showed his Sheridan Millennium company owed more than £70m to the nationalised Anglo-Irish Bank in Dublin.

It was a financial scenario which necessitated the sale of the Odyssey lease, its key asset.

At the time Mr Curistan told the BBC it was worth £80m, but others put the value at nearer £20m.

Anglo-Irish Bank has been trying to broker a sale for the past year, but without success.

As part of negotiations, Sheridan transferred the lease to Odyssey Pavilion LLP last year and it is they who have been forced into administration.

Mr Curistan is deeply unhappy at developments and says he has spoken to the PSNI and taken legal advice.

He claims the bank was forcing him to sell to a preferred developer, when he could have got a better price elsewhere.

The development ends Mr Curistan's relationship with the Odyssey.

A spokesperson for the Odyssey Trust, which is the ultimate owner of 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."

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