Work will begin on the first phase of housing on the former Garden Festival site in Liverpool within the next 12 months, Langtree boss John Downes said during a visit by Lord Heseltine and Sir Terry Leahy last night.
Downes said interest from potential house buyers had encouraged the developer to start marketing the residential element of the site in the coming weeks.
"Now that the park is finished people can see the benefit of living here next to this new facility," Downes said. "We have had hundreds of inquiries over the internet and on the phone, with the contractors on the site having people come up to them asking about putting their names down, so we are very encouraged."
There is consent for 1,374 apartments and town houses on the northern part of the site where the festival hall was positioned. Development of the residential phases stalled when the market collapsed but Downes said house builders remained interested due to the prime location on the river and proximity to the city centre.
The southern part of the 50-acre site has been restored as a public park with grant funding from the North West Development Agency. The park is due to open in late July
Downes said residential plots would be sold separately to house builders although the breakdown of how many parcels or the number of units in the first phase had not been decided.
"Work could start on site later this year or early next year but certainly within a year of today there will be construction here of the first residential phase," Downes said.
Heseltine said the park looked "wonderful" and welcomed it opening back up to the public, but even more so the development of new property on the site, which was the original intention of the 1984 Garden Festival, to be used as a marketing tool to attract developers.
Heseltine is visiting Liverpool with former Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy as part of their fact-finding exercise for a report to government about the city's enterprise needs.