Developer Elliot Group will suspend work on the first phase of the £250m Infinity scheme, and £100m Aura project, after talks with contractor Vermont. Tony McDonough reports
Developer Elliot Group is to suspend work on two major city centre residential projects with a combined value of £350m amid a police investigation involving its founder Elliot Lawless.
Following discussions with contractor Vermont, work on the first phase the £250m Infinity scheme, and £100m Aura project, is being suspended. Vermont is in talks with its supply chain to reassure all subcontractors that payment of all works to date will be met.
On Wednesday, December 18, Mr Lawless was arrested by Merseyside Police as “part of an ongoing fraud 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 ongoing. Mr Lawless has vowed to “clear my good name” and and says he “strenuously” denies the allegations.
Aura, a student scheme on the edge of the city’s Knowledge Quarter, was due to complete in September 2020. Phase one of the Infinity scheme on Leeds Street – a 38 storey, residential tower with 416 apartments, was scheduled to be handed over in December 2021.
All of Vermont Group’s other projects are unaffected by this decision and all operations continue as normal. Work also remains on-going at all other live Elliot Group sites, including the £170m Park Lane development
Elliot Group expects to restart activity on both Liverpool schemes following the satisfactory conclusion of outstanding legal matters. A spokesman said: “We want to resume all works as quickly as possible and to ensure completion of the project for the purchasers and investors.”
Vermont will not make any further statement while the police investigation is in progress.