Signature Living founder Lawrence Kenwright, whose 30 James Street and the Shankly hotels are up for sale, claimed investors were holding back until Brexit is resolved. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool businessman Lawrence Kenwright says further delays to Brexit are having a “devastating” impact on the hotel and property development sectors.
Mr Kenwright, whose Signature Living business has opened a run a number of hotels including Liverpool’s 30 James Street and the Shankly, warns that investors are holding back until the election and Brexit are resolved.
Signature has recently opened the Dixie Dean Hotel in Victoria Street in the city centre but has put the Shankly and 30 James Street hotels up for sale with a combined price tag of £51m.
The entrepreneur said that the General Election will add another six weeks of instability and further decline in investor confidence. He explained: “Signature Living has been one of Liverpool’s most prolific business success stories over the last 10 years but delays and uncertainty around Brexit is having a devastating impact on the business.
“People talk about a slowdown in retail but there is quite a marked slowdown in the hotel and property development sector too. Funds are not as fluid and investors are thinking twice before they commit to backing projects until Brexit is resolved.
“I have worked with investors from all over the world for over a decade and it is clear to me that we’re seeing a dangerous decline in confidence. The consequences for business in cities such as Liverpool could be grave unless Brexit is settled soon. The uncertainty is unhealthy. Throwing a General election into the Mix is causing more instability.
Mr Kenwright also said that many businesses were taking “robust steps” to protect themselves from the impact of Brexit, adding: “For many of us, this may include scaling down operations.
“In a political and economic situation as fast moving as this, we need all need to be future-proofing what we do to minimise the potential catastrophic consequences of leaving the EU. Boris Johnson says business may feel a little bit of a pinch but businesses in the North West simply can’t afford that.”