Liverpool's £200m New Chinatown project saved by investor consortium
Work on the stalled New Chinatown project in Liverpool is set to resume.
Great George Street Developments (GGSD), a consortium of investors, has acquired the business that owns the leasehold on the £200m scheme.
Phase one of the five-acre development will resume by this summer.
Among the GGSD shareholders is senior banker Jason Oakley, former managing director of Metro Bank’s London-based commercial banking and mortgage arm.
Prior to his work with Metro Bank, Mr Oakley headed up SME banking for NatWest and RBS in Edinburgh.
Liverpool property developer Primesite facilitated the acquisition and will now provide advisory services to GGSD as its plans progress.
Neal Hunter, development Director at GGSD, said his team is engaging with existing New Chinatown investors to assure them their investments are safe.
He said: “We are in talks with Liverpool City Council and other stakeholders about some legacy issues but anticipate these will be resolved swiftly.
“Our intention is to resume work on phase one of the development by this summer and to revise the existing plans for phases two and three.”
Phase one will deliver 117 apartments and close to 6,000 sq ft of commercial space.
Mr Hunter continued: “Our view is that the new overall scheme can better align with the city’s strategic aspirations and better connect and relate to the Baltic Quarter and the existing Chinatown.”
“Our funding model will also be significantly different – we are engaging with major institutional investors to fund the scheme, rather than being reliant on multiple small investors.
“Our experience tells us that applying an investor-led, fractional sales model to developments of this size and type is not the most appropriate funding method.”
GGSD expects to submit revised plans for phases two and three – which could introduce “larger commercial space and a better mix of housing, including family homes” – this summer.
Primesite Developments Ltd MD Kerry Tomlinson commented: “Primesite had the resource, knowledge and influence at a local level to broker this deal, and we are proud to hand the baton to Great George Street Developments for the delivery of the project.
“Owing to our commitment to completing the three prominent Liverpool sites on which we are already working (Strand Plaza, Herculaneum Quay and The Rise), we felt it was important to help set up a dedicated development company which would be better resourced and led by industry-renowned investors and principals.”
He added: “Primesite’s own pipeline is too full for us to be able to commit to a project of this magnitude for the city, so we will instead be offering our advisory expertise.”
Advisors on the new project include professional services firm Arup, architects Brock Carmichael, solicitors JMW and real estate services giant CBRE.