Elliot Group’s £70m Epic Hotel in receivership

LPA receiver David Currie & Co is seeking cash offers for the stalled development, a 306-bedroom hotel in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle. 

The company was appointed earlier this month to recover a charge lodged by Virtuoso Investments, a company based in the Seychelles that had invested in the scheme. 

Work to build the 16-storey hotel Norfolk Street was being carried out by Newry Construction. However, it stalled last year after investors backed out following the arrest of Elliot Group founder Elliot Lawless in December 2019. Lawless was subsequently released on bail, which expired in March, and no charges have been brought. 

Last April, the High Court ruled that a Merseyside Police search of Lawless’ property at the time of the arrest was unlawful and the police agreed to settle the claim.

In a statement to Place North West, Lawless said the Epic Hotel scheme was “a casualty of the media coverage surrounding the unlawful police search warrants executed at my properties more than a year ago.

“Many of the investors in the scheme had backed me to deliver more than 2,500 homes but the police’s actions spooked them and they have chosen not to proceed with the scheme. New investors were similarly deterred.”

Lawless said he hopes investors with a stake in Epic Hotel will not lose their investment, and added that he is eyeing a deal similar to that struck at the £100m Aura student accommodation scheme, in which investors acquired the ownership of the project from Elliot Group and are delivering it themselves.

Lawless added: “[Marketing Epic Hotel for sale] is a proactive move in conjunction with the scheme’s investors to test the market value for the site. We agreed to appoint an LPA receiver as an administration is more time-consuming and costly.

“My focus is on ensuring that none of the investors lose any money. I achieved that with our Aura scheme and the aim is the same here. It’s a cracking site and the appetite for development in Liverpool remains very strong so we’re expecting plenty of interest.”

Designed by architect Falconer Chester Hall, the hotel element was first proposed in 2017 to be operated by Vincent, before Epic Hospitality Group replaced the hotelier in July 2018. The £70m project also includes permission for 54 apartments. 

David Currie & Co last week agreed to sell another stalled Liverpool project to Legacie Developments. In November, work stopped on the second phase of Assetcorp’s Parliament Residence, 145-apartments in the Baltic Triangle, before a receiver was appointed. Around 140 investors are set to lose deposits put down on one- and two-bedroom apartments that were being marketed for sale at £120,000 and £150,000 respectively.

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Pity, nice scheme.

I wonder if given that Elliot is cleared of charges whether the investors here will be able to challenge the police and CPS?

By Chris

When is he going to sort the mess out at Greengate Salford?

By Bob

Chris – charges were not brought by the police against Lawless, but their investigation into corruption within Liverpool city Council & property developers active within Liverpool is ongoing. A number of arrests were made in December including that of the mayor.

Bob – good question. The investors are understood to be working very hard to save their investments from substantial losses.

Let’s hope that Elliot Lawless is keen that the investors who backed the Greengate Residence project don’t lose any money, like what was claimed in this article for investors in the Aura student accommodation development. The predicament for investors in the Residence at Greengate appears precarious still – perhaps Lawless will show similar willingness to facilitate investors to acquire the site and rescue their investments from substantial losses.

By Bringer of Truth

It will be a wonderful game of developer bingo to see which local company steps forward to “save” this scheme. No doubt they will say they have a “track record for delivery”, which will be printed without examination and the carnival can continue.

By More of the same

I know it’s a development news site, but PNW does a way better job than the Echo in reporting details!

Back in September you carried a story where Lawless was quoted saying that he was confident the police would be required to return the 300 grand in cash they seized from his flat. It said that he was hoping to submit the claim in the following weeks.

I don’t think there has been anything more about that since, which would be surprising if the cash had been returned. Do we know how that went?

By Jeff

The site is a good one, opposite the Marina and Liverpool Watersports Centre. Will make a great hotel for some lucky hotelier that gets to manage it, and a good investment for the company that will undoubtedly pick this up.

By Roscoe

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