One of the first restaurants to open at the Barangaroo precinct back in 2016, Bel & Brio, has this week had its doors shuttered amid an ongoing lease dispute with landlords, Lendlease, with a staggering $1.8m in owed rent outstanding.
Restaurateur Mark Richardson said in a statement to The Daily Telegraph that he was "blindsided" by Lendlease's decision to board the venue up on October 29, despite falling behind on rent payments for at least the last two years.
“We’ve been in negotiations and mediations… to get the fee to something reasonable, however Lendlease had enough and pulled the plug and so they should have,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
Staff of the restaurant claim they knew the venue was in dire straits and say they have not received paycheques for several weeks.
Richardson has assured them he is working towards getting the 140 staff what they are owed.
"It is a shame for staff but I’ve lost the most. I’ve lost eight years and $11 million."
Richardson at this stage has no intention of re-entering the restaurant business, citing the pandemic and the work-from-home culture that many CBD workers have adopted, opting for work/life balance rather than commuting daily.
At the time of writing, reservations for the restaurant have been suspended until January 2023, but purchases can still be made on the Bel & Brio online market.