A former Pubmaster operations director is set to double the size of his leased estate, writes Paul Charity. Harry Costigan was one of 14 shareholders of Hartlepool-based Pubmaster who all became millionaires in 2003 when the company was bought by Punch Taverns. Now Costigan is about to re-open his fifth leased pub - the latest in a number of joint investments with Punch Taverns. His company, Leopard Leisure Limited, is about to invest £150,000 in Rosie’s Bar on Newcastle’s Stowell Street after taking over the lease earlier this year - the company has five sites and wants to double that to 10. Costigan told a local newspaper: “We’re a pub company that takes on pubs that have lost their sparkle and gives them back their shine. “Rosie’s is a classic example. It had lost its identity. It has had many owners in the last few years and has started to look jaded and neglected as a result. “We will bring the Rosie’s theme back and give back to the people of Tyneside the Rosie’s Bar they love.” As well as Rosie’s and the Queen Victoria, Costigan also operates the popular cask ale venue The Hotspur on Percy Street, Newcastle, and the High Crown in Chester-le-Street, as well as circuit drinking venue The Empress near St Nicholas Cathedral in Newcastle city centre. The Rosie’s development is the latest of its joint ventures with Punch Taverns with both parties sharing Rosie’s £150,000 refurbishment costs. Leopard will concentrate on opening further outlets on Tyneside. He said: “We are a company that is looking to pick up good sites that may have unfortunately got into financial distress. We believe in giving the people of Newcastle the opportunity to drink in pubs where they can feel comfortable, safe and warm. “The industry as a whole is suffering with overall revenues falling year on year, but as a company we are currently operating at around the same level as last year which we think is quite an achievement in the current climate.”

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