Developer Elliot Group placed the £250m Infinity and the £100m Aura projects in Liverpool into administration earlier this month, as well as a third £70m scheme in Salford. Tony McDonough reports
Administrators on two property developments in Liverpool worth a combined £350m say they are “optimistic” the projects can be completed.
Developer Elliot Group placed the £250m Infinity scheme, comprising three residential towers close to Liverpool’s waterfront, and the £100m Aura student accommodation project close to the Knowledge Quarter, into administration earlier this month.
A third Elliot scheme, a £70m, 34-storey residential tower in Salford known as ‘The Residence’, was also placed in administration. Paul Cooper and David Rubin of David Rubin & Partners have been appointed as joint administrators over The Residence Manchester Limited, Aura Liverpool Limited and Infinity Developments Liverpool Limited.
The collapse of the schemes came after Elliot Group founder, Elliot Lawless, was arrested by Merseyside Police on December 18, 2019, as part of an ongoing fraud and corruption investigation.
Nick Kavanagh, director of regeneration and employment at Liverpool City Council, was arrested on the same day as part of the same investigation. Both men were later released on conditional bail. No charges have been brought and the investigation remains live.
The Joint Administrators have now taken day-to-day control over all three developments sites in Liverpool and Salford. Paul Cooper said: “I have spent time in both Liverpool and Manchester this week in order to get an overview of the situation regarding all three developments.
“I am optimistic that David Rubin & Partners will be able to implement a rapid process to ensure these developments are able to be completed, providing both state-of-the-art student and residential accommodation.
“There are multiple stakeholders here and our team will shortly be in contact with all relevant parties to provide an update and inform them of the next steps to be taken by the joint administrators.”
Last week Mr Lawless secured a judicial review challenging his arrest and the search of his home. He said: “The police action in searching my home and office last December is now the subject of a claim for judicial review which I have brought before the High Court in London. An expedited hearing was ordered last week.
“I am challenging the police execution of search warrants and the whole basis of their case which, as I have said from the outset, is completely without foundation. In view of my claim now before the High Court, it would not be appropriate for me to comment further at the present time.”
A separate magistrates court hearing ruled the police would be allowed to keep hold of the cash seized from Mr Lawless’s property, believed to be around £200,000, while the investigation continued.