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Council launches legal action over Blok's stalled £200m Liverpool scheme

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Liverpool City Council has launched legal action against a developer over a stalled £200 million mixed-use site in the city, designed by Blok Architecture

The New Chinatown development, off Great George Street, had been earmarked for a major regeneration scheme including a 140-bed hotel, 790 new homes and 11,246m² of commercial and retail space.  

Developer Chinatown Development Company (CDC) acquired the lease from the council in June 2015 to deliver a three-phase scheme, ending Urban Splash’s interest in the site previously known as Tribeca.

However, according to the AJ’s sister title Construction News, the contractor on the CDC job - PHD1 - went into administration in April last year and work stalled last autumn. 

The council now claims that CDC failed to pay a staged payment of £475,000 in August 2016 and to cough up a similar amount in December. 

The authority said talks with the developer had broken down earlier this month, adding that it had instructed solicitors to start legal proceedings to forfeit two leases on the site.

At the same time, the council said a statutory demand has been issued for the outstanding sum of £950,000 owed to the council by CDC. 

If the developer fails to pay the outstanding fees by 10 August, the council said it would apply to wind up the company.

Liverpool deputy mayor Ann O’Byrne said: ‘Liverpool City Council has explored every avenue and worked with the developer in the proposed transfer of the Chinatown site to a new buyer, but insufficient progress has been made.

‘There are a number of challenges which could affect the transfer to any new buyer, and in light of new legal advice and financial information, the approach to market the site has become unviable.

‘We have sought reassurances from Chinatown Development Company Ltd but regrettably an agreement could not be reached and the council has been left with no choice but to take this new course of action.’

A spokesperson from Blok said: ’BLOK Architecture have a very limited knowledge of the current financial difficulties facing Chinatown Development Company, so are unable to comment in this respect; notwithstanding this we consider the New China Town Development site one of the most exciting architectural opportunities within the city of Liverpool and would very much welcome a future involvement once all outstanding legal issues are resolved.’

They added: ’BLOK Architecture was appointed by Chinatown Development Company (CDC) in 2015 to assist with the original site bid process and the subsequent planning application for the New China Town Development, Liverpool. From the very start of the process our client CDC were very supportive and enthusiastic of the overall concept design which was well received by Liverpool City Council and the local community.’

 Chinatown Development Company has been contacted for comment.

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New china town 3

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