Liquidators line up Old Trafford eyesore sale

A two-acre stalled site that was part of the collapsed Fresh Start Living portfolio is close to being sold by liquidators for £3.1m despite ‘complex problems’ with the title.

Trafford Press and Empress Mill were partially completed before developer Absolute Living Developments, which controlled the site after Fresh Start Living, entered liquidation in 2016.

Flats at Empress Mill were occupied but later vacated after the building failed to meet building regulations.

Empress Mill Trafford

Empress Mill was occupied briefly

The new owner would have to agree settlements with more apartment owners across the site before a clear title could be obtained.

Trafford Press has a listed façade fronting Chester Road, an emerging development area between Cornbrook and Trafford’s Civic Quarter. The sale includes an undeveloped triangular site to the north of Wright Street.

CBRE Trafford Press Empress Mill

CBRE, advising liquidator Azets on marketing the site, said “the majority of the site is to be sold on a freehold basis. Empress Mill is held on a long leasehold basis. The sale is subject to a number of long leasehold interests.”

The eyesore site is currently blighted by fly-tipping and squatting by homeless people.

Trafford Empress Mill

Fly-tippers have taken advatnage of the derelict site

Earlier this month, deputy High Court judge David Halpern QC, declined to grant a relief order delaying the sale of the site following an application by Charlie Cunningham.

Cunningham, a former director of DS7, which financed Absolute Living Development’s purchase of the site, was seeking to prevent the sale from going ahead on the ground that the price was a “serious undervalue” and there had not been “open market sale process”. The deputy judge found there had been sufficient time for Cunningham, who claims to have a charge against the site, to put his case to the liquidator and agents.

CBRE and SIA Group began marketing the project in January and the highest unconditional offer received was £3.125m from an unnamed bidder. Savills and Colliers were also invited to market the properties but declined to do so “because of previous difficulties with the site”, the court ruling explained.

Halpern said: “There were complex problems arising from the presence of tenants who had long leases which continued in force, which meant that the properties could not be sold with a clear title.”

The sale is expected to take around six months to complete.

Trafford Press

Rear of Trafford Press

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Trafford Council and Manchester Fire Brigade closed down Empress Mill for non compliance with Building Regulations and Fire Risk .

Why then was occupation permitted in the first place and then allowed to continue for several years. Please could Trafford Council enlighten us who made these negligent decisions and why ?

By Stephen

The building regulations issues were highlighted to Head of Trafford Council Planning after the first time the building got closed down. Then ALD took over and Trafford Council were questioned again … ignored everything they were told … and then the building gets closed down! Trafford Council were in on this from the get-go. They have cost us dearly. Answers please.

By Neelum

The state the Trafford press is left in, considering the quality of the building, is shocking

By Unbelievable

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