Plymouth student flats on sale for whopping £25m

-Credit: (Image: William Telford)
-Credit: (Image: William Telford)


A Plymouth block of student flats that was the subject of years of delays and legal wrangling and branded a “ghost tower” has gone on sale for £25m. The Saltwater Place double block, in Notte Street, is now housing students and has been placed on the market with offers being sought.

Property consultant Beachrock, which specialises in “purpose built student accommodation”, has been instructed by the building’s owner to find a buyer. The company said it is expecting strong interest from investors who already have student flats in Plymouth, UK pension funds and overseas specialist investors too.

Beachrock, which described the city’s student accommodation as “undersupplied”, said Saltwater Place can house 348 students in “a prime Plymouth location”, adding that 68% of them are domestic students. The block, of which 75% of the apartments are en-suite, is already 86% let for September 2024, Beachrock said.

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The building is a double block spread over 12 and 15 floors. It was formerly called Crescent Point but was rebranded in 2022 after being bought out of administration for £11m by an unnamed purchaser.

Prior to that, the building had been branded a “ghost tower” after sitting empty for four years. It cost £20m to build and should have opened in 2018 but this was delayed as it was enmeshed in legal wrangling until finally purchased in 2022.

It had emerged that some of the rooms were built too small. The building had serious defects which required remedial work the costs of which were expected to amount to “several million pounds” and which only came to light when commercial property experts gave the building a thorough inspection before it could be marketed.

A legal row then erupted between the company which owned the freehold, Plymouth (Notte Street) Ltd; the manager of the block, Mears Ltd; and construction firm JR Pickstock Ltd, over the alleged defective works. Plymouth (Notte Street) Ltd, part of the London-based Harouni Group, then went into administration in November 2019.

A month later the block was valued at £30m, based on the assumption it was fully occupied at the going market rent when sold as a going concern. It was marketed and contracts were exchanged in February 2022 with the new owner, who was not named because of a non-disclosure agreement, consenting to carry out repairs to defects which could have run into millions of pounds.

Guernsey-based ICG Longbow, the lender which financed construction of the blocks, received a total of £10,922,739 from the sale. ICG had been left in the unenviable position of having to either pay for the expensive repairs or sell the building at a knockdown price.

It opted for the latter with the unnamed purchaser receiving a licence to undertake remedial work at its own cost. ICG was owed £30,828,913 in total, meaning it ended up £20m out of pocket, and unsecured creditors lost more than £8m between them.

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