The Sunday Telegraph - SUN 20 FEB 2005

Actor crowing over film shop

Russell Crowe may be uprooting Eucalyptus at Bellingen, but he's laying down roots in Surry Hills withplans to build a script-to-screen productionfacility in the inner-Sydney suburb.

In a co-venture with businessman Peter Holmes a Court, Crowe will turn a former Riley St printery (pictured) into a one-stop shop for Aussie film-makers.

"Ours is a creative endeavour to knit together common-ground companies in the one building: camera, edit, writers, directors, producers and promoters,'' Crowe said through a spokesperson.

Sports writer John Thirsk told Out There the Aussie gladiator bought the building last year from Macquarie Bank for $3.875 million after the bank acquired the loan on the premises from a consortium of developers.

That group, which included Kings Cross hairdresser Joe Bardetta, had planned to build apartments on the site but failed to stump up sufficient capital.

As a result, Crowe and Holmes a Court got themselves something of a bargain and Sydney will gain a new creative heartbeat.

"There's a value-added perspective (to the facility),'' Crowe said.

"If you work in this building, you can also have Bill and Tony's, schnitzel, salad and orange cordial every day.''

Thanks, Chattles