Empress Mill Trafford Press Acuitus p.Acuitus

Work on the site stalled in 2016. Credit: via Acuitus

Old Trafford eyesore goes under hammer after two failed sales 

A two-acre stalled site off Chester Road is to be sold at auction later this month with a guide price of £1.5m, less than half of what the plot was originally expected to sell for. 

The redevelopments of Trafford Press and Empress Mill in Old Trafford into around 200 homes were partially completed before developer Absolute Living Developments entered liquidation in 2016. 

Liquidator Azets had twice been close to selling the plot but two deals fell through due to the complexity of the site’s title, according to reports filed with Companies House. 

Azets last report on the scheme detailed “multiple difficulties” in relation to selling the site due to the number of leaseholders attached to the stalled development. 

As of last September, Azets had obtained the surrender of 70 of 124 leases across both Empress Mill and Trafford Press. 

In addition, of the 78 investors that held unilateral notices, 30 had been withdrawn. 

Still, the complex title proved difficult to overcome. 

One prospective buyer had agreed to pay £3.1m but the deal failed to get over the line. Azets then agreed a price of £3.6m with another purchaser but that deal did not complete. 

Acuitus has now been appointed to sell the site at auction later this month. 

Acuitus director Charlie Powter said the site presents “an exceptional opportunity for developers to buy a development site in a strong location”. 

The Empress Mill and Trafford Press scheme were originally part of the Fresh Start Living portfolio. 

Fresh Start was wound up in December 2013. Its former chief executive Charlie Cunningham later became a director of DB7, which has a £24m claim against Absolute Living Developments having funded the acquisition of the site. 

Creditor claims against Absolute Living Developments since its collapse total £68m, according to Companies House filings. 

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This has been an eyesore as I cycle past this everyday…it would be great to see this developed but looks like there are a lot of complicated legal issues to resolve…good luck to whomever takes it on…probably needs a serious developer with experience in unravelling pre-sold developments. Hope it ends up in the right hands.

By Anon

I’m on the school governing body of Old Trafford Community Academy which is just sneaking into view in the bottom left of your aerial shot. From our point of view, we like to be look a few years down the line in terms of population growth or decline. These sorts of stalled developments are so frustrating, let’s hope it can move forward.

By Mike Cordingley

I used to work at Trafford Press (also known as Co-op Press and Pillans & Waddies) along with my late Dad who worked there for 47 years. To see the building in this state is truly heartbreaking after so many good times there in years gone by. I hope this is resolved soon enough and I also hope the keep the old Venos frontage which I believe is Grade II listed. 🤞

By Anonymous

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