Investors complete purchase of landmark Liverpool student accommodation development

Aura Investors LLP, a vehicle created “by investors for investors,” has completed the purchase of the 1,007 bed “Aura” student accommodation development in Liverpool.

The part-built Aura scheme occupies a prominent 1.25 acre site to the north east of Liverpool city centre. Construction had been mostly funded by substantial deposits paid by off-plan investors on 770 units, but money ran out, construction ceased and the developer went into administration, putting at risk investors’ stakes in the project. A group of investors combined their expertise and resources voluntarily to build communications within the investor body, explore legal options available to them, and to establish dialogue with the administrators.

When the administrators brought the development to market, a sub-group structured a compelling “investor-led” bid for the development, which was selected as the preferred bid, capable of delivering the best outcome for creditors as a whole. With completion of the purchase, the investors can now resume construction in earnest and are looking forward to phase 1 of the development being ready for students to occupy in September 2021.

Temple Bright LLP has been acting for the investor group since March 2020, advising on the investors’ legal rights in the administration, the bid for the development, structuring and regulatory aspects of the investor LLP, the promotion of the scheme to investors, the negotiation of the purchase, and construction aspects.

Dia El-Turk, who chaired the investor group and now chairs the LLP said: “Completing the purchase of the site gives investors ownership of the development and a say in its construction and operation. Temple Bright’s support throughout the process has been invaluable and we look forward to continuing to work together in the next phase of the project.”

Temple Bright insolvency & turnaround / banking partner Alistair Hill said: “It has been a pleasure to work with a committed and well organised group of international investors, determined to achieve a solution to avoid the losses that would have been incurred if the site had been sold to another third–party developer.”

Temple Bright real estate partner Iain Macfarlane said: “The transaction has involved challenges and novel solutions, including structuring the LLP, getting preliminary construction work started on site ahead of completion at minimum risk to investors, and analysing the outcome not just for the participating investors but also the investors who are not continuing their involvement in the project.

“It has played to our strengths in turnaround, real estate, financial services, planning and construction, and the Temple Bright team has enjoyed working with the LLP’s resourceful and skillful management committee. We wish them well in completing and operating a high quality project and delivering the return which all the participating investors deserve.”

Temple Bright is law firm of over 70 partners with offices in London and Bristol. The firm, which operates a streamlined partner-only business model, has particular areas of strength, including insolvency, real estate, planning and construction. Temple Bright’s core team for Aura comprised Iain Macfarlane (real estate), Alistair Hill (insolvency & turnaround / banking), Lilian Small (financial services), Kit Harvey (construction) and Paul Thompson (planning).

This article appeared on the Bdaily website on 12 October 2020.