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.

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Liverpool to look for views on blueprint for city centre growth

Upper Central – covering 56 acres in the heart of Liverpool city centre – is to be the subject of a draft masterplan to create an international standard gateway site to a £2bn flagship regeneration scheme.

Running from Central Station to Liverpool Science Park and Lime Street to Bold Street, Upper Central is seen as key to the future development of the city’s blossoming Knowledge Quarter (KQ Liverpool).

And Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet will be asked next Friday, 5 July to approve that a public consultation begins on a Spatial Regeneration Framework (SRF) to help shape the future direction of the area.

Its focus will be how Upper Central can become a magnet for digital, tech and creative sectors with the aim of providing three key goals :-

1. To maximise the opportunities of 2.5million sq.ft of new developments (larger than Liverpool ONE), with potential to create up to 7,000 new jobs.

2. A new sustainable, walkable and recognisable gateway location within the city, promoting pedestrian movement, increased dwell time and a positive first impression to millions of residents and visitors arriving into the city centre at Lime Street or Central stations.

3. To ensure high quality public realm that creates a place that is distinctly Liverpudlian and attractive to occupiers, residents and investors.

Stakeholder feedback on the draft SRF identified a need to re-brand the area. As a result a new website www.uppercentral.co.uk will be launched to coincide with the start of the public consultation.

Led by a team of independent planning experts, the draft SRF has looked at how best to redevelop the Lime Street area around the Adelphi Hotel, Central Station and Mount Pleasant whilst dovetailing Liverpool John Moores University’s Copperas Hill site, plans for the Fabric District and various private sector schemes such as Circus Liverpool at the old Lewis’s building.

To achieve this future development the draft Upper Central SRF is focused on eight key themes:

• Creation of a True Gateway for Liverpool
• Improving linkages to the rest of the city centre and pedestrian experience
• A mix of uses to create a quality of place and identity
• Striving for high quality design, appropriate massing and landmark buildings
• Provision of high-quality infrastructure
• Holistic view of development context and creating a new city district
• Preserving and enhancing heritage assets
• Delivery and collaboration

A major aspiration identified in the draft SRF is how to create a super crossing at Ranelagh Place, a new pedestrian experience along Renshaw Street and to promote a new pedestrian route to Lime Street Station from Copperas Hill to allow for improved access to the Fabric District and Paddington Village.

Liverpool City Council, which recently acquired Central Station shopping centre and is overseeing public realm proposals for St George’s Plateau, as part of the £45m city centre connectivity scheme, has also set out an ambition to redevelop the Mount Pleasant Car Park area to create an international standard gateway for the KQ Liverpool Mayoral Development Zone which currently employs 7% of the city’s workforce.

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