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800-square-meter Brisvegas emporium imperilled

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Apple’s plans to open its first mega retail store in Brisbane have been derailed by the collapse of building and construction firm Kell & Rigby.

The Register can reveal that in November 2010, Apple had signed a ten-year lease with Macarthur Central Shopping Centre for an 800-square-meter, three-storey retail extravaganza in the "Macarthur on Queen" location in Brisbane’s CBD.

It is understood that Kell & Rigby had been contracted for the building works, with the project still on course when the financial collapse occurred.

Insiders claim that despite Kell & Rigby having a long history with Apple in Australia - it worked on their other retail stores - the building firm did not have a formal contract for the Brisbane store but had started work on the project with a number of subcontractors.

Kell & Rigby administrator Mark Robinson, senior partner of PPB Advisory, confirmed that the company had an established relationship with Apple but could not discuss the specifics of the Brisbane-based Apple project.

Robinson told The Register: “Yes, they have been contracted to do work for Apple extensively, but no current formal contract is underway.”

In the absence of a formal contract, the Brisbane store is certain to be delayed significantly.

Robinson added that Apple was “fully free to discuss details of the arrangements with other parties as well. It is a fluid situation”.

Robinson said the projects that Kell & Rigby can't complete are now being offered to the market. There are around 25 construction contracts in the mix.

Overall, 18 local and international companies have expressed interest in buying the building firm.

Apple has not responded to The Register's inquiries. ®

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