North Western Hall
Liverpool's North Western Hall, which was being converted into a hotel by Marcus Worthington Properties

Worthington Properties follows other businesses into administration

Charlie Schouten

Administrators have been called in at Marcus Worthington Properties, making the development business the latest casualty of the group’s ongoing woes.

Deloitte has been called in to act as administrator at the business, which had an investment property portfolio of £39m according to its most recent accounts filed with Companies House.

Projects currently being delivered by the company include an overhaul of Liverpool’s landmark North Western Hall, which is set to house a Radisson Red hotel.

The appointment of administrators follows ongoing troubles at the wider Marcus Worthington Group, based in Preston. At the start of October, the group’s contracting arm collapsed after one of its funders, Cumberland Building Society, called in PwC to take over.

The group blamed this on a failure to attract funding from other lenders, due to “testing market conditions”.

At the time, the group said its other businesses, including its property arm, housebuilder Hollinwood Homes, Stonewell Property Company, and Breightmet Investments, were unaffected.

However, these soon shared a similar fate as the construction business, with PwC being appointed administrator on 14 October this year. Marcus Worthington Properties followed with Deloitte called in on 4 November.

According to its most recent full-year accounts at Companies House, covering the year to 31 December 2017, the company had investment property assets of £39.2m, a turnover of £22.5m, and an operating profit of £1m.

Marcus Worthington Properties’ conversion of North Western Hall in Liverpool is understood to be unaffected by the collapse of the business, with a £20m loan to fund the project already in place with the Merseyside Pension Fund.

Other projects, however, that look to have stalled include plans for an eight-storey apartment block on the site of the Preston City Mission on Corporation Street. The company revealed plans for the scheme in December 2017 but this will now not be progressed.

According to Companies House, Marcus Worthington Properties Investments, set up in August this year, continues to trade.

The wider Worthington Group had also been delivering 125 Deansgate in Manchester; the whole of the 116,000 sq ft office has been let to Regus co-working brand Spaces, which in turn is set to manage the offices on behalf of BT, and is expected to be open in early 2020. The contracting arm had been building the project before its administration; Companies House records show another company, 125 Deansgate Contractors, has also been set up, counting Russell Worthington as a director.

The joint administrators have been contacted for comment.

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Borrow capital, outsource construction. What work does a limited liability property development company actually do, apart from gamble recklessly with other folks money?

By James Yates

Put in some of its own cash as equity James, do you not know how the world works.

By Oliver