New owner found for Norwich nightclub

The future of one of Norwich's biggest nightclubs is looking more secure after its administration-hit owner was snapped up.

Project nightclub, on Riverside, had remained open despite its operator Luminar breaching its banking covenants, triggering its slide into administration.

The news came just six months after the Norwich club reopened following a �2m revamp, bringing with it 75 new jobs.

However, at the weekend it was revealed the chain, which runs clubs all over the country, has been bought in a �45 million deal expected to save 3,000 jobs.

A trio of leisure industry specialists - Peter Marks, Alex Geffert and Joe Heanen - formally completed Luminar's acquisition on Friday.

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Mr Marks, a former executive of the company and Northern Leisure, said: 'I am delighted that we have been able to complete the acquisition of Luminar.

'There was always a solid core business within Luminar but, in common with many in the sector, the perfect storm of high debt, an under-performing tail and a lack of investment meant that the company could not survive the downturn when it came.

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'The bulk of the estate is performing well, as are other privately owned club and bar businesses.

'Luminar has a lot of good people and I am certain that with hard work, the right financial structure and an investment programme the company can look forward to a great future.'

Mr Geffert, former managing director of the Whitbread leisure and nightclub business, added: 'Now we are on firm financial footing we have plans to refresh many of the clubs over the next two years. We believe the lights are firmly back on for the company, saving thousands of jobs into the bargain.'

Luminar suffered amid the financial gloom as its core market of 18 to 24-year-olds was hit by high levels of youth unemployment.

The smoking ban and changes in licensing laws to allow pubs to stay open longer also hurt it.

Administrators at Ernst & Young were appointed in October.

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