Mount secures £12m loan for Liverpool student scheme

Mount Property Group has secured a £12m loan to fund the construction of its £45m Natex student housing scheme in Liverpool’s New Islington.

The loan from Asian-backed lender Prime Secured is intended to finance completion of the 574-bed scheme, scheduled for September 2020 in time for the start of the academic year. The developer has no plans to seek further bank financing for the project, a spokesperson for Mount told Place North West.

Mount acquired the site of the former National Express bus station on Norton Street from Anwyl in June 2018. It plans to build two blocks of 16 and 10 storeys respectively, for student accommodation split between 472 cluster units and 94 studios. A total of 80% of units have been sold to date and the steel frameworks of the structure are in place, the spokesperson said.

Michael Chrysokhou, managing director of Mount, said: “This is a key milestone for the business and for the student accommodation market in Liverpool.”

Designed by architect Falconer Chester Hall, Natex includes a games area and gym, as well as a private courtyard positioned between the two blocks.

Mount Construction is the main contractor and management contractor Barton Group Services is building the project, which is one of six schemes currently under construction by the group.

The developer confirmed its purchase of the site from Anwyl last year, after first being tipped to buy the site by Place North West in January 2018.

It was Mount’s second major student scheme acquisition of 2018, following the purchase of a 124-bed project on Liverpool’s Devon Street for an undisclosed sum last May. The group has created separate divisions within its business to retain control of the build process, rather than outsourcing each delivery component to contractors.

Before the sale to Mount last year, Natex was to be Anwyl’s first student housing project in Liverpool. The North Wales-based contractor and housebuilder gained planning permission for the site in November 2016.

£1.5bn plan is Sheffield’s ‘biggest ever’

Sheffield’s biggest ever development project has been unveiled – a £1.5bn plan to transform the area around Midland station.

The hugely ambitious project would see the closure of Park Square roundabout and Sheaf Street – the dual carriageway that runs in front of the station – would swap places with the tram route that runs behind.

A huge, landscaped pedestrian bridge would link Park Hill with Howard Street and the multi-storey car park on Turner Street would be demolished and moved further away.

It would be replaced by an office block – one of up to 12 planned in the ‘Sheffield Valley’ zone, including four outside the station, employing up to 3,000 people.

Up to 1,000 homes – flats and houses – could also be built.

The total cost of the 20-year scheme is estimated at £1.5bn, dwarfing the £480m Heart of the City II development.

Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business and development, said the plan was to maximise the economic potential of the area and make the most of HS2.

“This is the biggest, most ambitious and most expensive development project Sheffield has seen.

“This is about making the most of HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail and unlocking private sector development to bring in businesses and jobs.

“It will transform the Sheaf Valley and visitors’ arrival at the station, join Park HIll with the city, connect the station with Heart of the City II and create an entire new quarter for Sheffield.”

The new tram route would run from Fitzalan Square, along Pond Street, stop outside the station and continue along Suffolk Road to Granville Square.

The bus station on Pond Street would be reduced in size to make room for the tram tracks and offices on stilts potentially built on top.

Park Square roundabout and Sheaf Street would become a park and link into the Grey to Green scheme at Victoria Quays, Castlegate and West Bar.

Coun Iqbal said the council would co-ordinate the project. Funding could come from several organisations including the city council, HS2, SYPTE, Transport for the North, Network Rail, Sheffield City Region and the Department for Transport. But the bulk of the costs – up to £1bn – would be from the private sector, which would build the offices, restaurants, bars and potentially a hotel.

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