Maghull Josephine Butler House

Maghull offloads Hope Street halls site

Maghull Developments has exited its prime site in Liverpool city centre, selling the former Josephine Butler House plot on the corner of Myrtle Street and Hope Street for student housing development to a US investor.

NCH Capital subsidiary High Castle plans to create a 345-bed hall on the site, which has planning permission, above 13,100 sq ft of commercial space at ground floor.

The scheme will be built by NCH contracting subsidiary Nordic Construction and will be the group's first UK development.

High Castle paid Maghull £4.2m for the site. Maghull, controlled by local developer-contractor Mick Hanlon, acquired a portfolio of four assets on historic Hope Street from Liverpool John Moores University in 2006 for more than £10m. The sale by JMU to Maghull helped fund the move to the new £27m art academy on Brownlow Hill. Maghull's plans for Hope Street met with strong and persistent objections from heritage lobbyists and councillors. Eventually, Maghull's £100m redevelopment plan for the portfolio was mothballed due to the economic crisis.

The site sold on to High Castle is the largest and potentially most lucrative. A scheme costing around £28m is expected to be delivered High Castle by September 2015, yielding £12,170 per bed.

Sean McGurren, chief executive of Maghull, said: "NCH were hugely impressed and inspired by the Hope Street location and are looking forward to building a scheme that will contribute positively to the local area and support the university's aspiration to offer the best quality accommodation in the heart of a thriving academic quarter.

"This is exactly the kind of the Inward Investment that the city of Liverpool needs to be attracting and we have to ensure that we welcome investors to the city with open arms. An international company such as NCH have no shortage of investment options available to them and could have gone to any one of a long list of major cities, but they have chosen Liverpool. We should be proud of that, and continue to strive to make the city a welcoming investment destination and a positive place to do business."

The accommodation will be delivered directly into the student market by High Castle rather than under a nominated agreement with one of the universities.

Juris Lujans, chief executive of Nordic Construction and High Castle, added: "This is our first major project in the UK. Liverpool is a great city with a rich architectural and academic heritage. This was an irresistible opportunity for us and we look forward to working with the city and our neighbours to make this a successful project and an asset to the city."

Knight Frank advised Maghull.

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