There are as many as 39 stalled development sites in Liverpool as the council begins work on a plan to improve the city's scarred landscape and reputation.
Liverpool's image has been damaged in recent years by a number of high profile development scandals which have left investors out of pocket and the city littered with mothballed sites.
Some of the stalled city sites the ECHO has reported on extensively include schemes at New Chinatown, Baltic House and the Paramount.
This situation is something the city council's Chief Executive Tony Reeves has been working to get to grips with since arriving at the Cunard Building and an officer task force has been assessing the number of stalled sites in and around the city centre along with what measures will be needed to try and complete them.
This is a subject Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Richard Kemp has been pursuing for some time and it is through his information request that we can reveal the situation regarding current stalled sites.
The report compiled by the task force working throughout the Autumn has indicated that up to 39 stalled sites exist in the city centre and that the solution to dealing with them will be complex and involve a range of national and local agencies in addition to the Combined Authority, City Council and the private sector.
Cllr Kemp said: "“When I asked for this report to be produced, I had no idea that the scale of the problem was as great as is revealed by this work.
"I am pleased that the council is clearly getting to grips with 10 years of problems within its regeneration department and that the new regime and methods introduced by the Chief Executive are both showing the problem’s extent but also beginning to search out solutions for the derelict sites which are littering our City Centre and the areas immediately adjacent”.
"At least now the Council is acknowledging the scale of the problem but it will take a lot of time and money to build out or demolish for more appropriate family development some of these stalled sites."
Cllr Kemp said there are particular difficulties concerning developments that have used the fractional investment model - where a building project is funded by selling flats off-plan in advance before it is built.
He said on some of these schemes it is now difficult to know who owns what, giving an example of one development where individual investors have taken out charges against an incomplete building which might, in practice, have no value.
He added: "In others there may be a private sector solution with a simpler debt structure whereby administrators can seek a take over of assets and a disposal to a competent developer."
He added: "In others, however, there is clearly going to be public sector money needed to either finish off or demolish half completed buildings and remediate the land for sale."
Liverpool City Council says it is now looking at how it can revive any stalled scheme in the city.
Councillor Barry Kushner, Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration, said: “Given the huge financial uncertainty surrounding the UK due to Brexit and Covid, we have had to assess the development projects in Liverpool to understand the extent and underlying reasons behind those sites that are stalled within the city. The City Council is not sitting by, waiting for schemes to sort themselves out.
“On the contrary, the city council is looking at how we can revive any stalled scheme, and that includes assisting the investors, the building contractors, their subcontractors and potential tenants, be they residential or commercial.
“What has become clear since we began the assessment, is that the development market in the city is fluid and very fast moving, and already some of the 39 schemes that were originally identified as stalled have now progressed naturally as a consequence of market activity."
Cllr Kushner said it is important to stress that each development has 'its own unique reasons and circumstances' for why it has stalled, pointing to the delayed new Royal Liverpool Hospital as an example.
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He added: “Liverpool remains a hugely attractive city to invest in, as the progress in schemes such as Liverpool Waters, Paddington Village and Pall Mall can testify.
“The next step we need to take is for council officers to identify which schemes require intervention and or attract financial support from government agencies to enable positive progression and those which will continue to be led by the private sector.
“We will only prepare business cases for those projects that may benefit from state support once the assessment is complete and in collaboration with partners such as the Combined Authority. Any sites that are considered positive investable propositions for the public sector will then be announced in due course.”