Investar has struggled to make progress in Stockport. Credit: via planning documents

Investar explores selling Royal George Village  

Work on the 442-apartment Stockport scheme has not progressed in the two years since planning permission was granted, prompting the developer to review its options for the site. 

Investar Property Group has been unable to get the redevelopment of the former Stockport College campus off the ground due to “build cost inflation and interest rate rises”, according to Michael Dong, chief executive of Investar.

Now the developer is exploring options to get kickstart Royal George Village. 

“Instead of waiting for the right turn in the market next year, we want to proactively look for alternative options to speed things up,” Dong added. 

The most likely result is that Investar will look to offload the three-acre site, according to market sources. 

Investar is also looking into the possibility of forming a joint venture with another developer. 

“The market in Stockport is attractive to a number of buyers and JV partners,” Dong said.

Investar acquired the Royal George Village plot from Stockport College in April 2020,  

The scheme would see four of the six existing buildings on the site demolished. 

The 115,000 sq ft Torkington Building would be converted into 122 apartments, while the grade-two listed Greek Street Building – the former Metropolitan Girls’ School – would be converted into collaborative co-working space for local businesses.   

The 60,000 sq ft Lyme Centre would be demolished and replaced with a 16-storey apartment block comprising 258 units. 

In addition, a new-build six-storey ‘gateway’ building would be constructed, providing 62 apartments at the corner of Greek Street and Royal George Street.  

Meanwhile, the Hexagon lecture hall, located close to the grade two-listed War Memorial Art Gallery, would be demolished and replaced with public realm and civic space.  

In addition, the 16,000 sq ft University Centre building would be demolished to provide an internal, south-facing courtyard to create additional public open space and private gardens for residents. 

Investar is facing similar difficulties in Trafford with its Botanical Gardens scheme.

Work on the 149-home scheme on Talbot Road in Old Trafford has stopped after a funding deal fell through. 

Linear Design & Construct was appointed to build the development earlier this year but has downed tools, it is understood. 

Linear was contacted for comment.

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Does Mr Dong accept that all developers are in the same boat and residual land values are half what they were? Is he going to take a haircut?

By John W

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