By Gwen O”Toole
The Sydney Entertainment Centre’s (SEC) future remains in doubt, following the eviction of the venue’s operator.
Kevin Jacobsen, the concert promoter at the helm of the 11,000 seat mega-venue since 1983, was served with an eviction notice by operators, the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, yesterday (Aug 5).
Jacobsen, with a million dollars of unpaid rent, has said venue operation would be totally disrupted if he was forced to vacate.
“I’m not sure they can kick us out, we own a lot of the property here,” Jacobsen said. “I will take the lot. It will be a total disruption of the operation.”
Jacobsen also added that the venue’s future is uncertain with rental expenses high and increased competition from Homebush’s Acer Arena. Both venues are owned by the State Government and operated privately under two different rental agreements.
The SEC pays an annual base rent of $2.1 million and if profits surpass $9 million, rent can increase to fifty per cent of revenue. Rent at Acer Arena is approximately $1 million which doesn’t allow for equal competition, Jacobsen indicated.
Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA) CEO, Robert Domm, expressed disappointment that Arena Management was unable to continue trading in the current economic climate.
“The Authority has been working closely with Arena for some time as it has tried to maintain its operations,” Domm said.
He added that the SHFA was entitled to terminate the lease and that the decision was based on a breach of essential lease terms and the company’s placement under voluntary administration and receivership. The Authority will take back possession he said and manage the facility on an interim basis.
“The Authority’s objective will be to keep the venue open and make sure ticket-holders get to see their events.
“A key priority will be to ensure that the SEC maintains its position as Australia’s premier entertainment venue,” he said.