Development firm fails hitting London building team for £2.6m

Aaron Morby 2 weeks ago

The collapse of a developer behind a planned super-prime residential scheme on London’s Victoria Embankment has left main contractor Ant Yapi and consultants owed over £2.6m.

Planned super prime flats scheme on Victoria Embankment
Planned super prime flats scheme on Victoria Embankment

A special purpose vehicle, Doulton Development, was set up by Australian developer Thirdi to buy the existing Westminster Tower building so that it could be redeveloped into 28 luxury flats.

The SPV enlisted the professional team and last June signed up contractor Ant Yapi to advance the 18-storey project, marketed as offering some of the most desirable flats along the Thames with views over the Palace of Westminster.

By July Ant Yapi had signed subcontracts, accepted novations of sub-consultants from the developer and commenced the design works and site enabling works in line with the contract programme.

But then the developer’s investor failed to meet the completion deadline to purchase the building at 3 Victoria Embankment.

Another investor was later found but the delay allowed rival developer London Square to strike a deal in April to secure the site for a reported £40m.

The existing Westminster Tower, built in 1983

Doulton Development is now being placed into voluntary liquidation leaving the main contractor Ant Yapi and a host of other trade creditors, including the professional team £2.6m out of pocket.

The main parent company Thirdi Property PTY is also owed £4.3m in intercompany debt.

According to the statement of affairs report sent by insolvency specialist Evelyn Partners to creditors, £7m was invested in the SPV for acquisition, construction, sales, and marketing expenses.

It said: “Most of these costs were funded by the parent company, Thirdi Property PTY (UK) Limited.

“Contracts were exchanged between the SPV and the vendor for the property acquisition in June 2023.

“The company subsequently invested significantly to develop design, conduct thorough technical due diligence, and established a well-received brand known as ‘the Doulton’.

“Unfortunately, the project’s initial funding partner encountered difficulties meeting the completion timeline, leading to the rescission of the purchase agreement due to delays.”

Despite finding an alternative funding partner to finalise the acquisition, the sale delay allowed another developer to step in and secure the site.

The directors said this meant that Doulton Development could no longer pursue the vision and would be placed into liquidation.

“Moving forwards. Thirdi remains committed to the UK market and the directors of Doulton Development will work closely with the liquidators to maximise creditor recoveries,” said the Doulton directors.

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