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.
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, 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.
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.