Covid put paid to pub purchase

The landmark Vulcan Hotel and focal point of St Bathans is closed for the first time in 140 years...
The landmark Vulcan Hotel. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A Canterbury man says Covid-19 put paid to his plans to buy St Bathans’ landmark Vulcan Hotel.

Questions of ownership and obtaining a new liquor licence mean the historic pub is closed for the first time in its 140-year history.

Brendan Richards said he had been working with his bank to finalise a loan to complete his lease-to-buy agreement when the pandemic hit.

"I got a call from my bank manager in Queenstown and he said all loans were on hold."

Of particular concern for banks was any loan relating to the hospitality industry due to Covid-19’s impact on tourism, Mr Richards said.

"It was going all right until Covid hit."

He said the building was owned by a company called Peyman Holdings with six shareholders, including himself and the hotel’s previous publicans, Jude and Mike Kavanagh.

Yesterday the ODT reported Mr and Mrs Kavanagh had confirmed a lease-to-buy agreement had fallen through through three weeks ago.

Mr Richards said the shareholder agreement meant the Kavanaghs could not sell it outright and he and other shareholders had placed a caveat on the property to prevent any potential sale going ahead without agreement from other stakeholders, he said.

He said the closure of the hotel was temporary until legal issues had been ironed out.

"It’s more an ownership issue."

Mr Richards said he had offered to buy out the Kavanaghs and had offered to pay some money up front with the balance to be paid in six to seven months.

The Kavanaghs had been adamant they wanted to be paid in full, he said.

"They said ‘no’.

"I said to them I would stay longer and they said ‘no’."

Mrs Kavanagh said Mr Richards had walked away from the deal.

However, Mr Richards disputed that.

"There is no way I would do that. I didn’t want to.

"I needed more time."

Mr Richards said he believed the situation was not at an impasse and potentially Peyman Holdings would take the hotel over and install a manager to keep all parties involved happy.

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