Michael Guo’s dream of bringing high-class apartments came crashing down this week as 60 businesses went belly-up leaving behind a trail of creditors.
Michael Guo’s dream of bringing high-class apartments came crashing down this week as 60 businesses went belly-up leaving behind a trail of creditors.

Chinese property king’s Sydney dream crashes down

From cost blowouts to mounting debt, The Daily Telegraph reveals the Sydney businesses that have gone bust in the past week with some leaving behind eye-watering debts and unpaid creditors.

Some had dreams of selling opulent, resort-style apartments in Sydney, others were starry-eyed start-ups once backed by renowned venture capitalists - but they all have one thing in common - the risk of a costly business failure.

These are the Sydney companies that have this week gone into administration, been liquidated or are being wound up.

 

'The Wolf of Castlereagh Street' leaves trail of debt

The subsidiaries of a Chinese-backed Sydney luxury apartment and hotel developer owned by a man dubbed the 'Wolf of Castlereagh Street' have gone belly-up this week with hundreds of thousands in unpaid bills. Now the company is desperately trying to save nine of its subsidiaries from troubled waters.

Chinese-born Michael Guo hit Australian shores more than 10 years ago with ambitious plans to bring opulent 'east meets west' hotel-style apartments to Sydney.

Michael Guo, CEO of Visionary Investment Group, has developed some of Sydney’s most luxurious apartments. Picture: Hollie Adams/The Australian
Michael Guo, CEO of Visionary Investment Group, has developed some of Sydney’s most luxurious apartments. Picture: Hollie Adams/The Australian

 

The real Wall Street wolf Jordan Belfort, the former stockbroker whose story inspired hit movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
The real Wall Street wolf Jordan Belfort, the former stockbroker whose story inspired hit movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Backed by Chinese investors, it took just a few years for Visionary Investment Group to take hold of Sydney's golden streets - but it would take just months for nine of the empire's companies to come crashing down into voluntary administration.

Just two years after arriving from the US, Guo purchased most of the buildings on Castlereagh Street - one of the most lucrative business strips in Sydney. Years later, he became the mastermind behind Silkari Suites in Chatswood, Pagewood and Sydney CBD.

Chinese-backed developer Visionary has developed several luxurious apartment blocks throughout Sydney. Picture: Visionary
Chinese-backed developer Visionary has developed several luxurious apartment blocks throughout Sydney. Picture: Visionary

 

The Oaks Lagoon in Port Douglas - one of the hotels owned by Visionary. Source: Visionary
The Oaks Lagoon in Port Douglas - one of the hotels owned by Visionary. Source: Visionary

The apartments boast unparalleled luxury. The flagship development on Castlereagh is perched on a sandstone 1875 Porter House boasting "exceptional hospitality" and resort-style living.

The Chinese-backed developer has also been planning a "resort-led development providing residences, three five-star resorts and spas and a Greg-Norman-designed golf course" in the Southern Highlands. In December, the company added Oaks Lagoons in Port Douglas to their property portfolio.

 

An artists impression of the Greg Norman-designed Silkari development in Avondale, near Wollongong, planned by Visionary. Source: Visionary
An artists impression of the Greg Norman-designed Silkari development in Avondale, near Wollongong, planned by Visionary. Source: Visionary

 

Silkari Hospitality has taken over management rights to the Oaks Lagoons Port Douglas. Source: Visionary
Silkari Hospitality has taken over management rights to the Oaks Lagoons Port Douglas. Source: Visionary

But the ambitious developer's dream of bringing high-class apartments to Sydney this week came crashing down as nine of Visionary's subsidiaries - mostly related to property sales and marketing - appointed an administrator, leaving behind a trail of fat bills in the hundreds of thousands and worried creditors.

While it's early days, administrator Mackay Goodwin says it's hopeful creditors will be able to claw back a fair share of their money.

"The board have expressed to the administrators a willingness to formulate a proposal in order to provide a return to creditors and we will be happy to provide further information in due course," the firm said.

Michael Guo, director of Visionary said none of the company's properties - like Silkari - are impacted by the news.

 

New hotel and apartments' brand Silkari took its name from the
New hotel and apartments' brand Silkari took its name from the "strong, versatile and beautiful fabric silk that embellishes everything it touches". Picture: Supplied

 


"We are not saying things aren't difficult," he told The Telegraph.

"It's tough market conditions that are to blame for the collapse.

"The property, hospitality and tourism industries have continually endured some of the toughest times in recent memory. And things have just taken a turn for the worse in the past few months.

"Our businesses, likely many others, unfortunately cannot escape the impact. The right thing to do is to put our affected subsidiary businesses into voluntary administration."

Despite the difficult market conditions, Guo is hopeful the company will be able to move forward without liquidation.

"It is a very difficult situation, we are trying everything we can to move forward and if there are any opportunities we won't give up," he said.

Sydney companies declared insolvent this week

 

Sydney boutique coffee roasters go belly-up

A boutique coffee roasting company distributing to cafes across Sydney and Melbourne has also succumbed under the pressure of debt this week.

Veneziano Coffee - a coffee roaster and wholesale coffee supplier - had an application to be wound up lodged this week - just a month after donating more than $13,000 to the bushfire appeal.

 

Veneziano Coffee co-founder, Rocky Veneziano. The coffee supplier has had an application to be wound up. Source: Veneziano
Veneziano Coffee co-founder, Rocky Veneziano. The coffee supplier has had an application to be wound up. Source: Veneziano

The company owns a string of cafes in Surry Hills, West End, Richmond and Adelaide.

But it's now in troubled waters after a workers compensation insurer lodged an application for the company to be wound up after it failed to pay-up debt.

 

Clipped wings: Domain name firm collapses

A domain-name start-up with dreams of scaling globally once backed by a renowned venture capitalist is in administration almost a decade after it was founded.

Winged Media, an Erina-based firm specialising in domain training, debuted on the prestigious BRW Fast Starter List almost a decade ago.

The company was backed by Mark Carnegie's venture capital firm in 2011 who handed the company a $ 3 million funding injection after it was valued at $30 million.

The founder, Troy Rushton, had big dreams for the company, telling Smart Company "there's an overwhelming need for this new program."

But the company came crashing down last year as creditors prepare to meet this week after administrators were appointed.

A deed of company arrangement is now in place for the company, with hopes it may be able to continue operating.

Efforts were made to contact Winged Media, Mark Carnegie and Veneziano Coffee.

For more information about the companies listed above visit the ASIC website here and contact the administrators.

 

Are you owed money or have you got an experience you want to share? Email the writer at Georgia.Clark@news.com.au

 

 

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort in a scene from “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort in a scene from “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Guo owns several buildings on Castlereagh - including Silkari - earning him the nickname the ‘Wolf of Castlereagh Street.’
Guo owns several buildings on Castlereagh - including Silkari - earning him the nickname the ‘Wolf of Castlereagh Street.’
Inside one of the luxury penthouses owned by Visionary.
Inside one of the luxury penthouses owned by Visionary.
One of the company’s boutique cafes. Picture: Instagram
One of the company’s boutique cafes. Picture: Instagram

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