Great George Street Project GGSD p.planning docs

The New Chinatown scheme proposes around 500 homes and a hotel. Credit: via planning documents

Liverpool bids £10m for New Chinatown as dispute rumbles on

Liverpool City Council and Ascot Group remain locked in a battle to acquire the stalled £200m scheme, with neither willing to give up ground to the other.

The two-horse race for the long-stalled New Chinatown site began more than two years ago when The Great George Street Project – the vehicle that was previously bringing forward the New Chinatown development – went into administration.

Both parties want to take control of the scheme and redevelop it. Liverpool City Council is keen to end the scourge of stalled sites across the city, while Ascot owns a chunk of the debt on the high-profile site.

Determined to win out, Liverpool City Council, has increased its offer for the New Chinatown site from £6m to £10m, according to the latest administrators report.

At first, Liverpool’s £10m bid was “sufficient to provide Ascot with the outcome it required” and the developer was willing to consent to the sale, according to the administration report.

However, the report goes on to say that “due to a dispute between LCC and Ascot regarding unrelated planning consents, a further offer was recently made by Ascot”.

This bid is believed to be in excess of £10m.

Cowgills, which is handling the sale of the site for administrator Begbies Traynor, is currently considering both bids.

The latest administrators report covers the period from August 2023 to February 2024.

Both the city council and Ascot declined to comment.

In February, Liverpool’s cabinet signed off in principle the acquisition of the site. However, the final decision on who will gain control of it will fall to the administrators.

A drawn-out affair

Whoever ultimately ends up acquiring the Great George Street plot would take control of one of Liverpool’s most high-profile stalled schemes.

The £200m New Chinatown was first proposed by North Point Global in 2015. North Point’s plan for the site, located east of the Baltic Triangle, featured 800 homes, a 140-bedroom hotel, and 120,000 sq ft of offices.

The developer was delivering the project through its China Town Development Company SPV, later renamed The Great George Street Project.

North Point’s involvement in the project ended in 2018 when Great George Street Developments took control of the site by acquiring a shareholding in The Great George Street Project.

The most recent iteration of the 8.4-acre scheme was approved in 2020 and proposed the creation of 446 apartments across seven buildings of between two and 18 storeys, as well as a 140-bedroom hotel and more than 100,000 sq ft of offices.

Begbies was appointed as administrator over The Great George Street Project – the company behind that development – in March 2022.

Since then, former North Point directors David Choules, Lee Spencer, and Antonio Garcia Walker have been disqualified from being directors.

Great George Street Developments was dissolved in June 2023.

Your Comments

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I would like the council to win out on this one, and then get a reputable developer on board to finally deliver here.

By Chris

As stated this is a high profile site which needs developing as a priority. North Point failed to deliver on a number of projects in Liverpool , and though now owned by Ascot I doubt if they have the wherewithal or commitment to deliver this scheme. The current owner will obviously want to prise as much money and concessions they can out of the City Council, even though they are local.
This is a prime example how Liverpool’s property development sector got into such a mess, but its heartening to see the Council is trying to resolve this and move forward.

By Anonymous

RE: Chris – It was the Council who sold it to North Point Global in the first place all those years back. The site was not openly marketed at the time.

By Nelson

Re Nelson – Were Urban Splash not the first to deal with the Council?

By Observer

Nelson – it was Joe Anderson’s council who did that. I think thing’s have changed quite a bit for LCC!

By Chris

Re nelson – yea under Joe’s time the council has new structure and leadership, it also still have a government commissioner and right now since the secretary of state assigned Steve as part of the Liverpool city council improvement committee and it was part of his decision to suggest the council partner with reliable developer to purchase stalled projects and get them done I would imagine LCRCA would also apply more pressure to ensure it gets done. Hence why the sold the cruise terminal and why they are planning on purchasing the old police station

By Bless

Will glad to see the back of this mess and hopefully movment

By Anonymous

Bring back Urban Splash’s Tribeca scheme!

By Abots

I hope the council succeed and get this project back on track because the stalled site is such a waste of a superb location. High quality office space there could do wonders for attracting businesses to the area.

By Andrew

Yeah. Like we can afford it.

By Anonymous

Disgraceful way to conduct business..egos entrenched in a bitter dispute with each other to the detriment of the city and its need of development

By Tercol

@Tercol Possession is nine tenths of the law. Ascot have a right to protect their commercial interests. Why should they bow down to the city council? As for the implication that they are holding up other Ascot planning applications as a bargaining tool, whilst that is also commercial, it’s also unbecoming of a local authority.

By Anonymous

The City Council has new senior officers in place now who more determined to get things moving development-wise. I reckon we’d be still treading water under the old regime and doubt if anything would be happening here to rescue this project. There are too many bomb sites across the city owned by local individuals with no intention of seriously developing them and making the place a more attractive and business-friendly destination, they just want screw every last penny out of their own city and give nothing back.

By Anonymous

The Urban Splash Tribeca scheme was rubbish back then and its even less suitable now. The Brock Carmichael scheme is definitely the better option for the city. But most importantly, the council need to stop messing about, there is no way they can compete with Ascot ability to increase their bid.

By Dr Ian Buildings

Hmm, the Council withholding unrelated planning permissions to bully people into getting what they want. This is not the first time this has happened recently.

By Anonymous

The Council aren’t withholding consents as a bargaining tool – Ascot are trying to force them to give concessions on other schemes in return for their consent to sell GGS!

By Michael

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