Millennium House sale ‘wrong’ claims

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Lawrence Kenwright (left) and Chris Shankly-Carline (right) outside the location of The Shankly Hotel © PRD Associates

Lawrence Kenwright (left) and Chris Shankly-Carline (right) outside the location of The Shankly Hotel © PRD Associates

Liverpool’s Liberal Democrat leader has slammed the council’s decision to sell Millennium House to developers Signature Living.

The old council property was sold for £3million to the property developers who have started work on converting part of the building into the Shankly Hotel.

The new owners have also made a considerable investment in improving the on-site council Lifestyles gym.

However, details of the deal have revealed that the building could have sold for more – or less – if put out to tender, leaving Councillor Richard Kemp describing the choice as a ‘mess’.

Kemp told JMU Journalism: “It was the wrong decision. The council claims that they had external verification of the value by an independent value, but you never know the value of something until you put it up for sale.

“Here we have a prime building right in the commercial heart of Liverpool, in very good condition that I think was more than sellable.

“What the council said was that because somebody had approached them and had started negotiating with them, they decided not to put it out to tender because of this reason.

“Yes this will create another hotel, we are creating lots of hotels at the moment, and I like to see lots of people coming into the city. Perhaps it would still have been sold for the purposes of a hotel if we would have put it on the market properly, but we don’t know that because the market was never tested either to its value or the purpose of the building.”

The council stands by its decision to sell the hotel directly, estimating that it will lead to £20million being invested into the local economy. Defending the deal, a council spokesman said: “This deal with Signature Living exceeds the independent valuation we received for the building.

“Putting the building out to the market would merely have delayed the sale leading to the potential loss of a willing buyer in a difficult market and leaving the council picking up the costs of an empty building.”

About Samantha Gaulter-Green, JMU Journalism