The Singaporean owners of The Edge Restaurant and Bar are seeking a new tenant for the hospitality space.
The Singaporean owners of The Edge Restaurant and Bar are seeking a new tenant for the hospitality space. Contributed

Hearing rests on The Edge with over $1m owed in rent

AS ONE of Rockhampton's prime location restaurants stands empty, three parties are involved in court action over more than $1million in rent.

Owners of The Edge restaurant, Rina Lim Siew Wan and Jordan Neo Beng Chye, are seeking outstanding rent from a 10-year lease that was terminated after two years.

Court documents filed with the Supreme Court in Rockhampton in November show the owners were seeking damages for overdue rent, overdue outgoings, loss of rent for the remaining eight years of the lease along with other items totalling $1.35million.

The Supreme Court in Rockhampton on Friday heard the total amount sought had not yet been disclosed.

First defendant Merlot Gordon Pty Ltd, owned by Mark and Aaron Gordon, applied to have the matter go trial at the same time as another - Merlot Gordon versus Olsen Lawyers - which were lawyers to Merlot Gordon Pty Ltd when they initially took over the restaurant business and the lease agreement.

Barrister Mark Stunden told the court his clients claimed Olsen Lawyers were negligent in failing to advise Merlot Gordon of the full content of the lease agreement.

He said if Olsen Lawyers were found negligent they could be liable to pay some or all of the damages the court may order for the first claim.

Merlot Gordon's application included moving the trial to Brisbane where two of the three parties' legal representatives were based.

Court documents filed by owners Rina and Jordan state Rivers Edge Fitzroy Pty Ltd was the registered owner of the land at Unit 1, The Edge Apartments and on January 19, 2016.

Rivers Edge along with I&H Jones Pty Ltd entered into a written agreement over the whole of the land for 10 years starting on January 29, 2016.

The court documents state Merlot Gordon acquired the business from Jones in February 2016 with the lease assigned to them on March 21, 2017.

The terms of the lease, outlined in the court documents, included equal monthly rent instalments in advance.

The lessee provided the lessor with an unconditional bank guarantee or cash deposit of $68,735.33.

A table in the court documents showed during a 15-month period, $262,912.42 rent was payable with only $102,580.42 paid.

The claim includes outstanding payments by Merlot Gordon for Rockhampton Regional Council rates, Fitzroy River Water fee, body corporate fees and management fees totalling $12,080.70.

The owners took back possession on October 3, 2018, changing the locks and hiring cleaning services for the premises.

They now seek damages and costs, along with future rent under the 10-year lease agreement of $972,660.85 and future costs of $50,279.81.

The restaurant was still available for lease at close of business yesterday.

The court heard local business people were likely to be called to give evidence in the trial, including Grant Cassidy and a Knight Frank representative.

Justice Graeme Crow reserved his decision and adjourned the hearing.

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