Herculaneum Quay New

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Sorting stalled sites key for Liverpool, says City Residential

Resolving the city’s remaining stalled sites will go a long way to helping keep confidence in Liverpool’s residential market, managing director Alan Bevan said in the estate agent’s latest quarterly report.

Recent months have seen encouraging news, with MCR Property Group joining Elliot and the Crossfield Exclusive joint venture in picking up abandoned projects, at Quadrant, Pall Mall and Norfolk Street respectively. AR&V Investments acquired Pinnacle scheme Victoria House, while earlier in 2018, Great George Street Developments started to piece together the New Chinatown project, securing planning for afirst phase of development.

Herculaneum Quay and Victoria House are the two largest stalled schemes that remain to be resolved. Herculaneu Quay is structurally completed, but funding platform Lendy pushed Primesite’s development vehicle Heculaneumco into administration in June last year.

At Paramount, a student accommodation scheme close to Lime Street station, most of the 400-plus student places remain unbuilt, although a small part of the scheme was delivered.

Bevan put the recent spate of deals down to the sites, some of which are well advanced, offering good value for money, being sold in a fully transparent process through administrators or liquidators, with the incoming buyer being able to pick up assets at a substantial discount.

He said: “The likes of Elliot Group, MCR and Crossfield understand the Liverpool market very well and have confidence they have the skills, resources and ultimate exit to ensure that they make their schemes a success whereby previously the development had stalled.

“We would like to think this means the end for stalled developments, and getting these stalled developments started again will go some way to clearing a major issue for the city.”

However, Bevan warned, with market conditions toughening, and investors still potentially wary given what has gone before, completion rates in the city as a whole may suffer over the next 12 to 18 months.

He added: “There are also two remaining stalled schemes where there is still uncertainty over their future. It would be highly encouraging for the market if these were dealt with during the coming months.”

On the market as a whole, City Residential reports that Liverpool has performed resiliently, although “there is no doubt that the residential market as a whole in the UK is slowing down, with both activity levels and house price growth indicators highlighting reduced levels from the previous years”.

In particular, the firm is positive on the student accommodation market, with student numbers rising; and the build-to-rent market, described as one of the more active outside London.

The full report can be accessed online.

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