PICCADILLY TOWER MAY SEE RESTART

PICCADILLY TOWER

A £500m fundraising plan by Irish-based property group Ballymore has raised hopes that work may be restarted on the Piccadilly Tower in Manchester, which was set to become Europe’s tallest residential tower until the project was hit by the credit crunch.

Ballymore, headed by Sean Mulryan, spent £8m digging the foundations of the building but the scheme was mothballed last September when the property crash made it look less likely that the 430 apartments could be sold.

Mulryan is hoping to raise £30m from private investors to kick-start five or six of the 43 projects in the Ballymore portfolio. The company has not said whether the Manchester scheme is one of those it hopes to restart.

Ballymore borrowed heavily from Irish banks to fund its projects but most have cut back property lending drastically after being caught with bad debts. The company’s other projects include the 48-storey Pan Peninsula Tower at Canary Wharf, east London.

The 60-storey Piccadilly Tower, which was expected to cost £220m, would have housed a 220-bedroom hotel as well as the apartments. Ballymore had a 95 per cent stake in the project and Manchester-based developer Wayne Mellor had 5 per cent. It was due for completion in 2010.

Mellor told Crain’s last September that the project is effectively on hold as funding was dependent on selling apartments off plan. Also, no hotel operator had been signed to occupy the bottom 16 floors because funding had not been found to start construction.

Mellor said that both he and Ballymore remained committed to completing the tower, however.

He added: “When the market turns we will be very well-placed to realise the dream. The project is sitting there waiting to go. Providing market conditions are right it will happen.”

Crains

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