Great George Street Project GGSD p.planning docs

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

Liverpool takes step towards New Chinatown acquisition 

The city council’s cabinet has agreed to acquire one of the city’s most high-profile stalled sites and is in advanced talks with administrators over a deal. However, the authority is not the only horse in the race for the £200m development opportunity. 

A spokesperson for Liverpool City Council said: “LCC can confirm it is in advanced negotiations with the administrator over the future of the Great George Street site.  

“Due to commercial sensitivities, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.” 

While the city council is taking steps to take control of the site, the acquisition is not a foregone conclusion. 

Ascot Group, which owns the debt on a chunk of the site, also claims to be in talks to buy the scheme. 

A spokesperson for Ascot Group said: “Ascot Group remain fully committed to buying this site and we continue negotiations with the administrator. 

“We have reached out to Liverpool City Council but they have refused to meet with us to discuss our plans for this project.” 

The spokesperson added: “We have made an unconditional cash offer to the administrator to buy the whole of all three phases, as recommended by their advisors, and we have confirmed that we do not require any external funding to buy the site.” 

The final decision on which party to sell the site to will be made by Begbies Traynor and Cowgills, the administrators. 

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. 

Last October, an administrators report suggested that selling the site to the city council might not be on the cards due to ongoing concerns around the authority’s governance. 

Advisory firm Kroll, which is acting for Begbies, “refused to recommend or comment on any sale to Liverpool City Council based upon concerns of corruption and reputational issues”, the report stated. 

However, several months on, it appears Liverpool City Council has overcome those issues. The authority is seemingly in the box seat following the cabinet’s decision this afternoon [Tuesday]. 

At the same meeting, LCC also agreed to push ahead with the acquisition of the former Smithdown Lane Police Station in the city’s Knowledge Quarter. 

A spokesperson for Liverpool City Council said: “Paddington Village has quickly established itself as a major part of Liverpool’s multi-billion-pound knowledge economy and the Council is keen to ensure its future growth.  

“Talks are at an advanced stage on how the next chapter takes shape, but due to commercial confidentiality, it is inappropriate to comment further at this stage.” 

Your Comments

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We’ve got a street-smart developer on the one hand that’s got a charge on the debt, and Liverpool council on the other. Don’t all rush to the bookies at once.

By Anonymous

This needs to be resolved so this highly pivotal project can proceed, as Chinatown needs a massive makeover.
The City Council appear to have a strategy and the involvement of another bidder could be just a ploy to get maximum price for the administrator.
This was once the one of the most remarkable Chinatowns in Europe with over 25000 Chinese living in the streets around Nelson St and Pitt St. and many old remnants of those days still exist there.
Things were not helped with the demolition of much period housing only to be replaced in part by some of the most mundane, architecturally poor, suburban housing this city has to offer.

By Anonymous

Liverpool is the oldest city so it’s only right we should get a glorious new China town ! We need more office’s though!!

By Mary Woolley

The ‘developer’ in this case has done no developing at all, despite owing this plot for ages. I hope the council win this one.

By Chris

@Chris, the developer doesn’t own the site – he owns the debt on 50 per cent of the site, which gives him certain rights. Try reading the story first, eh?

By Anonymous

There’s a real opportunity with the volume of Chinese students in Liverpool and arrival of Hong Kong Brits following the Communist Party crackdown in Hong Kong to repopulate this prime site in a within a vibrant city centre location close to the university, good jobs and good leisure.

A real opportunity to jump ahead of Manchester’s and London’s Chinatown, mixing the rich heritage with new generations of Chinese-origin residents.

By DenseCity

Developer is referenced in the context of NPG and other related companies not Ascot. I think therefore Chris is right.

By Liscard

This is a great opportunity for the city .

By Anonymous

1. Its not a vibrant China Town and has not been for over 30 years
2. Its not the most remarkable China towns in Europe nor does history serve it well
3.The historical context whilst interesting is not the focus nor should it be for future plans or development
4. Chinese or people of Chinese do not want to live a an area called ‘China Town’ in the same way Jewish people do not want to live in an area once known as a Ghetto.
5. Its such a dated lazy way to spearhead development and insulting
6. I cant believe someone said in this comments section ….repopulate this site…
7. urban planning and development has moved on conceptually

By Anonymous

They need to do something big with it . A lot of catching up to do with those other cities.

By Celestial bornanbred

What is most impressive about this is that the Council sold the site off-market in the first place, it has sat cleared/derelict for nearly 10 years and then they are buying it back for more than what they sold it for. Ticks those ‘Best Value’ boxes…….

By Little Joe

@Anon 4.48pm, do you read the previous posts in full? eg your point 2,the poster said “it was ONCE one of the most remarkable Chinatowns”, not as you claim “the most remarkable”.

By Anonymous

Chinatown a ghetto? Don’t think so, would you say the same about Little Italy.

By Anonymous

If this scheme ever comes to light it will be a great opportunity to reconnect the Baltic Triangle area with the rest of the City Centre.
The derlict space is huge and needs redevelopment.

By Liverpool4Progress

Have to agree, Manc and London’s Chinatowns are located in a much more characterful and urban setting.
No harm in trying to improve though.

By Anonymous

Liverpools China Town is in a extremely characterful and unique setting. Nelson Street is fine Georgian Street which oozes history plus its also overlooked by the one of the world’s largest cathedrals right in the city centre. Also Chinese and East Asian cuisine in general dominates the immediate area around Berry Street and Renshaw St.

By Anonymous

The UKs 2 oldest Chinatowns, circa 1850s,ie London and Liverpool, emerged in the dock areas. For London it was Limehouse but now it is prominently central behind Leicester Square and Shaftesbury Ave.
In Liverpool most properties in Nelson St and Berry St need investment ,therefore this Chinatown project needs completing as it will provide more footfall in area as well as make it more attractive, another plus is the Fusion student development on the old Hondo supermarket site which will increase the population round there.

By Anonymous

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