Administration beckons for Judas Priest guitarist’s golf course
The site, called Astbury Hall and based in Shropshire, comprises a golf course and a Georgian-style stately home where Downing previously lived.
FRP Advisory were appointed as joint administrators earlier this week, and have put the site up for sale with an asking price of at least £10 million. A spokesperson for the firm said that “tougher economic times within the wider corporate hospitality market”, which put pressure on cashflow, had prompted the decision.
The news comes just a year and half after Downing bought out his partners in the venture, with plans in place to build a leisure resort around the golf course, which would see forty holiday homes, a hotel, a spa and another nine-hole course built on the 320-acre estate.
Downing said that on the back of a promising season and with plans for expansion in place, his business sought extra funding.
He added: "The company took out a short-term mezzanine fund in early August to take us through to March. This was essentially to bring in professional architects and a team from London. Everything was in place as far as we were concerned.
"Unfortunately, about six weeks into the loan, we were served a short-term notice about breaches.”
Downing confirmed that he was planning to refinance the loan shortly, adding that he was “taken aback” that the funding bank had not been more flexible about the situation.
Alastair Massey, partner at FRP Advisory, said that the administration would allow for Downing’s estate to function while sales of various parts of the business - including the golf course, stately home and associated events business - were mooted for sale.
He added: “The estate will continue to run as normal through the administration process and the number of bookings which the Astbury continues to make is a testament to the popularity of the hall, the golf course, its grounds and the catering on offer, all supported by its professional team of staff.”
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