Almost a year after the Melbourne Star stopped turning, the liquidator charged with selling one of the world’s largest observation wheels says it is making progress on the sale with “various stakeholders”.
But the Docklands Chamber of Commerce has called for faster action, saying the local business community needed certainty on the future of the former tourist attraction.
The Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, which has been a feature of Melbourne’s city skyline for more than a decade, was one of the city’s most high-profile victims of repeated COVID-19 lockdowns, closing last year with multimillion-dollar debt.
MB Star Properties announced the immediate closure of the wheel in September 2021, saying the pandemic-induced travel restrictions and lockdowns had made it “impossible to sustain the business”. The owners said those challenges had come on top of pre-existing difficulties, with “increased high-rise development and changes in the Docklands area”.
Weeks later, liquidator Grant Thornton filed a creditors report with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission showing the wheel had racked up more than $3.9 million in debt.
At the time, a spokeswoman said the liquidators would consider all possibilities, including selling the wheel and surrounding land or dismantling it.
Docklands Chamber of Commerce executive officer Shane Wiley said he knew of at least two consortiums that had made credible offers to buy the liquidated assets associated with the wheel, including the wheel itself.
“We want to know if it is going to stay or go or be taken down and scrapped,” he said.