Forrest replaced on £70m Salford towers

Developer Elliot Group has drafted in Careys to complete the concrete frame for its 34-storey The Residence project in Salford as it looks to find a permanent replacement for troubled contractor Forrest.

The scheme in Salford’s Greengate features two towers of 15 and 34 storeys, housing 300 residential units, a gym, and a ground-floor commercial unit.

Forrest had been appointed as main contractor and site clearance had begun before the Bolton-based company ran into financial difficulties earlier this month.

Elliot Group had earlier promised a “Plan B” should Forrest’s situation worsen and has now confirmed the appointment of concrete frame contractor Carey to continue working on the scheme for the next 18 months. Careys had originally been working as a subcontractor to Forrest on the project.

The developer took back control of the site from Forrest last week and following conclusion of negotiations, Careys will start to erect a tower crane on Tuesday 4 December.

“We promised our investors that we would roll our sleeves up and sort things out with their interests in mind and this is proof of the pudding,” said Elliot Lawless of Elliot Group.

“Careys has an excellent reputation and I’m delighted to be contracting with them directly.  It’ll take eighteen months to complete the frame, during which time we will be negotiating with suitable contractors to finish the fit-out and the envelope.”

Hill Dickinson and WYG acted for Elliot Group on the negotiations with Careys.

The move by Elliot Group follows the announcement yesterday that Forrest had failed to secure a refinancing deal for its business. The contractor is now in discussions with a number of parties, one of which is understood to be Engie, over the sale of its energy and social housing business, as first revealed by Place last Friday.

Discussions over the future of the company’s new-build business, which has borne the brunt of its problem contracts, are understood to be ongoing.

The group has already been replaced on Citu NQ, one of its problem jobs pictured below, by fellow contractor Domis, the business founded by its former chief executive Lee McCarren.

Domis Citu NQ

Along with Citu NQ where the contractor is believed to be losing around £2m; two other projects have caused issues for Forrest: these are understood to be X1 The Plaza and X1 The Gateway, both in Salford.

Forrest has found itself in difficulty after it unearthed a pre-tax loss of £26m last year, which it said was down to accounting “errors”.

The company had previously reported a pre-tax profit of £3.6m in 2015 but this was revised heavily downwards to a pre-tax loss of £19.2m. This was followed by a £6.8m loss for the year to 29 February 2016.

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