Friday, December 9, 2016

News: Rotherham redevelopment linked to dubious investment schemes

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Work is slow on a housing development in Rotherham town centre with development companies wound up and even linked to protests in Hong Kong by worried investors.

Revised plans to convert the historic Howard Building into self-contained studios and apartments were approved by the planning board at Rotherham Council in 2015.

The prominent former college building was sold prior to going to auction after it was advertised as a development opportunity and given a guide price of £250,000 by local auctioneers, Mark Jenkinson & son.

With little evidence of the conversion into twelve, one bed apartments and 60 studio apartments at "Howard Residencies", applicants, AVRO Developments headed into insolvency, with Rotherham Council leading the petition in 2015 to have the company wound up.

Financial documents link AVRO Developments to DS7 Limited which has acted as a lender to Absolute Living Developments, Fresh Start Living and Empirical Property, all highlighted in the media as leaving buy-to-let investors out of pocket.

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Similar schemes in Manchester, Bradford and across the North of England were sold off plan to investors with the promise of decent returns, but the work was never completed and companies were wound up and projects moved on in complex deals. In some cases where some work was carried out, tenants were left with exposed electrical wires, a leaking roof, an illegal gas connection, a car park strewn with contaminated waste and an open sewer pipe.

The Telegraph & Argus reported this year that police in Hong Kong are conducting an international investigation into Liverpool-based Absolute Living Developments, which had been part-way through three apartment projects in Bradford when it was placed in compulsory liquidation. Overseas investors fear they have lost their money paid in deposits.
Howard Residencies is currently being offered as an investment opportunity by Crown Union (located at a virtual office in London and shares directors with companies linked to the Howard Building and DS7 Limited). It is offered as an "Ideal purchase for investors looking at UK Buy To Let's as a way of getting onto the first rung of the property investment ladder. From dynamic apartment layouts to classic period fa├žade and stonework surrounds, this redevelopment brings together Rotherham past and present to create a truly unique place to live for post-graduates, young professionals & key workers."

Starter pads and 1 bed apartments are being offered at £49,950 and £69,950 with an 8% ROI per annum.

Crown Union website

Images: AVRO Developments / Tom Austen


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