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[LONDON Ireland's National Asset Management Agency has appointed receivers to a company that owns a luxury-home project in London's St John's Wood district after the development stalled under its current management.
"Over the last two to three years, attempts have been made to move forward with developing the site and have reached various stages, only to fall at the final hurdle," David Oprey, one of the two administrators, said by e-mail on Tuesday. "Our appointments have come as a result of the asset managers deciding to take a new approach." The site, which has approval for about 80 luxury homes with a rooftop swimming pool and views over Lord's cricket ground, is held by companies linked to developer Marcus Cooper. Oprey and Richard Toone of CVR Global LLP were appointed as fixed-charge receivers to the companies that own the site. Under that arrangement, lenders can quickly secure control of an asset, according to the industry's lobby group.
A spokesman for NAMA, the lender for the land, declined to comment. Mr Cooper, who owns properties on some of the UK's most expensive streets, did not reply to e-mails and calls to his office seeking comment.
Land values in London's best districts fell 6.9 per cent in the third quarter, the biggest decline in at least five years, according to broker Knight Frank LLP. Higher taxes and concerns about Britain's vote to leave the European Union have damped demand for luxury homes in the UK capital.
The project was previously offered for sale through Jones Lang LaSalle Inc, according to a brochure on the broker's website. The completed development would include affordable homes as well as the luxury properties.
"The site is very well known and situated in a prestigious location and as such has great potential," Mr Oprey said in the e-mail. "We're in discussions with existing agents about our sales strategy moving forward and we are expecting strong interest in the development." Mr Cooper, 50, is a low-profile London luxury-home developer. He bought seven houses overlooking Regent's Park in 2007 from the Crown Estate for £23.7 million (S$40.9 million), according to the Daily Mail. He later sold the homes to competitor Christian Candy. Cooper sold Marco Polo House, a site in southwest London, to Berkeley Group Holdings Plc in 2013 for more than £100 million having bought it for £63 million in 2006, according to Property Week.