Michael Wray gives up on opening fine-dining restaurant in Sierra Vista

Seven months after announcing his intention to bring a fine-dining restaurant to Sierra Vista, celebrity chef Michael Wray is pulling the plug on HK One.

The announcement was made this week by business consultant Daniel Valle, who said that the struggles to get the necessary capital to launch the restaurant were too much.

“Although numerous attempts were made to secure adequate funding beyond seed money, it was insufficient to fund the entire project as required,” Valle said. “Several large investors did consider our project but they cited poor economic condition and the risk factor associated at this time as the reasons for not participating in the project, plus we simply ran out of time.”

Several messages for Wray seeking comment were not returned Thursday.

When reached by phone for comment, Valle referred to Ronald Newman, a commercial litigation and business law attorney in Tucson.

“Due to the economic climate, it’s just not going to happen at this time,” Newman said.

The final decision to halt efforts to get the eatery off the ground came Monday, he said.

One of the most recent investors in HK One, Kyle Molloy, could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Bob Shepard, executive director for the Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation, had been in touch with Wray at different points in the last few months in an effort to help things along. His most recent attempt to help came in the form of an investment letter, sort of a letter of recommendation for a potential investor that Wray and his partners were going to meet with in Scottsdale a few weeks ago.

According to Shepard, Wray and his partners needed about $700,000 to get HK One up and running.

The plan had been to set up the restaurant at 590 E. Fry Blvd., the former location of a Golden Corral and, most recently, the Mexican-themed Las Trankas.

Originally scheduled to open in August when it was announced in May, the opening date was continually pushed back until the most recent date of January of 2010.

As Wray and others worked to build interest and investment in the restaurant with charter member programs and other efforts, the celebrity chef began taking work around Sierra Vista as a caterer and making appearances at numerous fundraising community events.

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