Pension fund backs £140m Heaps Rice Mill scheme

Merseyside Pension Fund agrees £60m loan for Legacie Developments towards £140m cost of Heap’s Rice Mill scheme in Liverpool. Tony McDonough reports

Heaps Rice Mill
Legacie’s Heaps Rice Mill scheme being backed by Merseyside Pension Fund


Legacie Developments has secured a two-phase development loan from Merseyside Pension Fund (MPF) to help finance the £140m redevelopment of Heaps Rice Mill.

MPF’s Catalyst fund has agreed to lend £60m to Legacie which has already started work on the project at the edge of Liverpool city centre. It is building 620 units in five phases and will also create a luxury underground spa inside the mill.

Grade II-listed Heaps Rice Mill in Pownall Street dates back to around 1780. IT was home to Joseph Heap & Sons Ltd, which once ground rice for Kellogg’s Rice Krispies.

However, the property has been in a derelict state for a number of years and has seen several false starts for its redevelopment. In July 2019 Elliot Group took over the site from a previous developer, Inhabit. Neither firm delivered on their plans.

In December Legacie, which has already delivered several residential developments in Liverpool, started work on the project which will also include a hotel.

It has partnered with international sales agent, RWinvest, to promote the scheme. It has attracted what it claims is “unprecedented demand”. Investors have already snapped up 85% of the units.

The Merseyside Pension Catalyst Fund is advised by CBRE’s lending team within its capital advisors business.

This loan is MPF’s and CBRE Lending’s first loan with Legacie Developments and is the largest funding deal the developer has struck in Liverpool to date. This loan takes Legacie’s institutional finance to more than £120m in the first four months of 2023.

John Morley, founder and chief executive of Legacie Developments, said: “This is the start of an exciting new lending relationship with the MPF. 

“This investment will help us bring to life an historic Liverpool landmark – unlocking local jobs, training opportunities and economic growth.


Heaps Rice Mill
John Morley (Legacie) and Michael Gledhill (RWInvest) with workers at the Heaps Mill site. Picture by Jason Roberts
Heaps Rice Mill
Legacie’s Heaps Rice Mill scheme will comprise apartments, a museum and hotel


“Having the support of such a prestigious pension fund is a big vote of confidence in our company and the largest funding deal in Legacie’s 10-year history. I’m really looking forward to delivering hundreds of much-needed new homes and amenities for the city.”

Hill Dickinson advised Legacie Developments on the deal and CBRE is a retained advisor to Merseyside Pension Fund.

Chairman of the MPF’s committee, Cllr Pat Cleary, added: “Despite Liverpool being an increasingly attractive city to live and work in, housing completions have remained a fraction of their pre-financial crisis levels. 

“As well as helping to alleviate the housing crisis in Liverpool, the units will be far more environmentally friendly than existing stock, utilising air-source heat pumps, MVHR systems and retaining the historic Heaps Mill building fabric in the redevelopment.”

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