Ovatus 1 Liverpool
Hodder + Partners designed the two proposed towers, one of which has planning consent

Liverpool’s Ovatus scheme up for sale  

Sarah Townsend

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

Your Comments

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Is there ever going to be any offices in this city, or are we to lose out for the rest of time? I can’t help but think that Liverpool’s fate is sealed, and it’s being done deliberately. No one is to speak out about it or risk being called a conspiracy theorist. Well I will speak out about it. Try and stop me.

Sigh.

By Michael McDonut

These sites have been touted around the market for about three years now – ‘unofficially’, of course. I can’t imagine that there’s an active developer in the city that hasn’t already rejected them on account of the laughable gap between claimed build cost and reality.

The ‘by negotiation’ bit is going to be fun. On the one hand will be intransigent hope value and on the other will be hard evidence of what it costs to build tall, curved structures. Whatever you do, folks, don’t hold your breath.

By Sceptical

Naivety in the extreme and more evidence of ego-driven design that would not have had a cat in hell’s chance of being built even from the earliest sketch proposal….It’s also more or less a facsimile of a David Chipperfield building.You might wonder why architects get a bad name.

By anonymous

I actually like the design . Whether it actually gets built or not given where we are all heading , well that’s a whole different debate.

By Nve

We need grade A office space. Not skyscraper flats. Leave that to Mcr.

By Dan

We need skyscraper flats. Not grade A office space. Leave that to Mcr.

By Nad

@Nad and Liverpool will leave Manchester to extremely bad architecture

By Zoe

I dunno all these schemes aimed at Chinese investment eh. I mean seriously, look at the cgi skyline, there is literally nothing there! Whoevers still buying into the idea of towers in liverpool are a sound investment must be very very soft in the ed..

By Anonymous

If this gets built it will cast a giant Shadow on the building behind, if it dosen’t get built a giant shadow on the future ones in front.

By On the dock

@Annon this picture is deceiving we’re not a landlocked city – facing this picture a beautiful waterfront with high rises doted along at together with other beautiful buildings.

By Win win

Liverpool is a very attractive city unlike Manchester which is possibly one of the most hideous looking cities I have ever layed my eyes on in the 21st century, okay you may have had 10years construction ahead of Liverpool but Liverpool is catching up and a more quality level not quantity, office space yes Liverpool needs more and it will get more as it grows even more .

By Tina..

Beautiful words Tina…keep telling them to yourself.

By Anon

“Tina” the problem with Liverpool it a still has a village mentality when it comes to development, that’s why it will always be behind Manchester

By CBA

I definitely think Liverpool is a prettier city, but I really like Manchester too.

Tbf there are lots of the Greater Manchester regions which are much nicer than the LCR. The majority of areas/towns outside of Liverpool’s city centre are pretty terrible.

And anyone who slates Manchester for being ugly, have you ever been to Birmingham, Coventry etc. There are tonnes of other UK towns and cities which are downright minging. Manchester isn’t one of them IMO and has some of the most interesting buildings in the UK.

I’m getting a feeling that people think they need to criticise Manchester in order for Liverpool to succeed. The Liverpool I know is much better than that.

By Anonymous

Manchester is ugly blah blah blah. I don`t like its glass skyscrapers yak yak yak. Liverpool is much nicer chatter chatter. Every single comment section there`s someone to do with Liverpool who has to bring up Manchester. Get over yourselves

By Anonymous

A lot of insecurity

By Anonymous

@Tina. I`m not so sure about the quality. There is boxes on top of roofs, half done projects etc. Think you need to take your rose coloured glasses off to be honest. Much of Liverpool is run down.

By Poynton guy