Vermont lined up to develop £100m Aura

The developer-contractor is in talks to take over development of the stalled 1,000-bedroom student accommodation scheme on the edge of Liverpool’s Knowledge Quarter from Elliot Group.

Vermont was previously on site as a contractor building Aura, but it halted construction work on the scheme in January following the launch of an ongoing police investigation into Elliot Group founder Elliot Lawless.

Lawless was arrested in December alongside Nick Kavanagh, the head of regeneration at Liverpool City Council, on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud, bribery and corruption. The pair were released on conditional bail. No charges have been brought.

A spokesperson for Elliot Group said that discussions for Aura were ongoing, and that no deal had yet been signed.

Vermont was also a contractor at another two stalled Elliot Group schemes – the 38-storey Infinity tower on Leeds Street in Liverpool, and Salford’s 34-storey The Residence. Contractor Carey Group walked off The Residence in the middle of February amid rumours the company was owed payment. Another developer is yet to be appointed on these schemes.

Elliot Group founder Elliot Lawless last week pledged to inject the necessary funds to complete all three of these schemes to avoid them falling into administration.

A spokesperson for the developer said at the time: “The ongoing police investigation means there is no likelihood of raising further development finance until the investigation is complete and Mr Lawless is exonerated, as he expects to be.

“His only option is to inject short-term funding to keep the project afloat while responsibility for completing the scheme is mandated to another developer.”

A spokesperson from Vermont declined to comment on whether Vermont would also take on development of the other stalled Elliot schemes.

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