Liverpool’s Ovatus scheme up for sale  

The company that acquired 122 Old Hall Street, a curved building with a mirrored glass façade near the waterfront, and hatched plans to replace it with two residential towers including what would be the city’s tallest building at 50 storeys high, is selling the site.

The three-storey 122 Old Hall Street on the corner of Old Hall Street and Leeds Street was built in the 1980s by the Moores family for its Littlewoods retail empire. It sits next to Kier Property’s £200m Pall Mall office, retail and leisure development.

Investment firm Prospect Capital, headed up by directors Martin Wilcocks and Craig Blackwell, purchased the building and a neighbouring plot in 2016 and, under a development vehicle named 122 Old Hall Street, secured planning permission for part of the Ovatus I and II scheme, which would together comprise 600 apartments.

Ovatus I has planning consent for 168 apartments over 27 storeys. The residential floor levels one to 23 would include a collection of studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, under the plans.

Floors 23 and 24 would comprise three-bedroom apartments, while floors 25 and 26 would offer duplex apartments.

The neighbouring site, known as Ovatus II, has pre-application proposals for a 50-storey tower comprising 538 apartments – adding to the to the emerging cluster of towers in Liverpool City Centre.

A consultation on the plans for what would be Liverpool’s tallest building, was launched in 2018. Both towers have been designed by architect Hodder + Partners, and Indigo Planning, now part of WSP, was the planning consultant.

Agency Cushman & Wakefield has now been appointed to market the freehold of the two prime residential development sites, which are available separately or together by way of negotiation.

The agency has not revealed the proposed price and is instead holding initial discussions with interested parties before inviting formal bids in September.

Giovanni Pilla, senior surveyor at Cushman & Wakefield, said: “Ovatus I and II present an opportunity for a developer to create stunning landmarks in Liverpool, which would bring new levels of high-quality residential accommodation to the city.’’

Martin Wilcocks, director of 122 Old Hall Street, said in a statement to Place North West: “We initially bought the property as an investment opportunity but were always mindful of the high-profile nature of this gateway site and the scope for a really impressive development.

“We have achieved planning permission for this flagship scheme and are now seeking a site sale or development partnership to take this forward.”

Bruce Poizer, investment partner at Cushman & Wakefield, told Place North West the sales opportunity had already garnered “quite a bit of interest, both among Liverpool-based and national developers”.

Several parties are interested in the existing proposals, while others would be keen to rework the plans and therefore require additional time to appraise the site. “We are not expecting to close any deal before September,” Poizer said.

He added: “A scheme of this scale would require a considerable amount of capital – it is no small undertaking.”

However, the city council in its local planning policy is supporting tall buildings in this part of Liverpool, and the indications are that consent could be secured for the second tower.

Ovatus Two Liverpool 2

Ovatus I (left) has consent for 168 flats, while Ovatus II has proposed plans for a 50-storey tower

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