06/02/2007 - 22:00

Oyster Bar hits snag

06/02/2007 - 22:00

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Warren Mead’s plans to develop an Oyster Bar at the home of the Australian Stock Exchange have yet again been delayed as the veteran restaurateur tries to bed down the sale of his North Fremantle restaurant.

Oyster Bar hits snag

Warren Mead’s plans to develop an Oyster Bar at the home of the Australian Stock Exchange have yet again been delayed as the veteran restaurateur tries to bed down the sale of his North Fremantle restaurant.

Mr Mead’s proposed Oyster Bar on the Terrace has been in development for more than two years and was scheduled to open its doors more than 12 months ago.

Exchange Plaza general manager John Bennett said while there had been several delays since Mr Mead took on the restaurant lease, he had been advised that Mr Mead expected to open the Oyster Bar in time for end of financial year celebrations on June 30.

Mr Mead declined to comment when contacted by WA Business News.

Mr Mead has encountered several business challenges since signing a long-term lease of the Exchange Plaza site, including a legal spat with Luke Neville, who became a partner in Mr Mead’s North Fremantle Oyster Bar on the Beach within months of its opening.

More recently, a deal by Mr Mead to sell the Oyster Bar on the Beach to the Empire Beer Group hit a hurdle after the brewing operation failed to raise enough cash to acquire the venue through its recent initial public offering.

Empire has a further two months to negotiate exclusively with Mr Mead and is seeking alternative financing to fund the Oyster Bar acquisition.

Mr Mead has been paid a $50,000 deposit by Empire and is also subject to getting various licensing approvals before Empire agrees to buy the property.

Last month, Empire told investors it was still looking to finalise a second site for its Colonial Brewing Co brand in Fremantle, but expected to have its brewery development open for the 2006-07 summer.

WA Business News understands other restaurateurs have approached Exchange Plaza management about taking over Mr Mead’s lease.

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