Month in property | July

Saints alive

Encouraging times for Gary Neville and his happy band of brothers. A poll of attendees at the public consultation on Stephen Hodder’s re-design of St Michael’s garnered a positive reception from 84% of those who completed a survey, with just 10% opposed. When the images appeared – in nice soft tones, with a pale, shimmery tower, the first impression was that the St Michael’s team have probably done enough to win most people over. That looks to be the case, although we’ll learn more in August when more details are due to come out.

Alright, me old China?

July’s seen another of those Liverpool City Council “moments”, this time over the New Chinatown scheme, the Great George Street site that Urban Splash had lined up pre-2008. North Point Global subsidiary China Town Development Company acquired the site in 2015 but things have stalled and the council has had enough. First it declared the start of a CPO process – never cheap – only to change tack a week later, starting legal proceedings to get CDC to forfeit its leases. As long as people know what they’re doing, eh?

Blackpool Winter Gardens Entrance

So Blackpool help me out

Blackpool Council has cancelled plans to turn part of the Winter Gardens into a £25m Blackpool Museum. On the face of it, that’s a blow but it probably shows good sense as there’s an £8m funding gap and it seems smart to bail before the £15m Heritage Lottery Fund bid was made. Keep that bidding powder dry. There is good news locally: consent for a decent quality hotel at Muse’s Talbot Gateway, one of the region’s longer-running regen schemes, following the announcement of Blackpool North station’s makeover. The museum will happen somewhere at some point, surely.

Bliss to be alive

Big news in another coastal resort, with Bliss Investments buying the rest of the Waterfront scheme from Promenade – aka Neptune/Ion – after taking the Ramada hotel last winter. The lack of activity down the years seems odd for so capable a developer, but maybe Bliss can shake things up. It’s certainly talking a good game, as well as engaging red-hot EPR Architects. The main man at Bliss, Daniel Broch, started Everyman cinemas, so if the ‘tenant tone’ is along those lines, expect things to be funky, on-trend and far from the cheapest places in town…

Hodder+Partners Rochdale Road 1

25 Rochdale Road, with NOMA site to left and the proposed Hampton by Hilton site to the right

Back to Realty

If there’s one business that has always done its own thing, being slightly awkward here, picking up a bargain there, that business is Realty Estates. The outfit, started in the 1980s by Yousef Tishbi, owns and has owned some big assets, including the Boddies brewery, the BBC site, the ‘Lazy S’ at Piccadilly. Now it has decided, with NOMA coming together on one side and a nice hotel on the other, that the time is right to develop its own Rochdale Road base into flats. It’ll be sad to see the most unprepossessing HQ in town depart the scene – the walk to the Marble Arch just won’t be the same.

FIREM 4 Sites

Surely it’s Chorley

It’s all happening by the M61. FI Real Estate Management has this month revealed plans to develop four big plots around the Botany Bay retail attraction – a shopping centre no life is complete without experiencing – into, respectively, big sheds, two plots of housing off Blackburn Road, and of course retail, with the existing centre to be overhauled and a 250,000 sq ft designer outlet village added. Will it work? There’s no reason it shouldn’t, people go to outlet villages in plenty of worse places than this.

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