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Row looms as studios building taken off market

Row looms as studios building taken off marketRock star Phil Collins's property company has announced it will not shut down Liverpool's under-threat Parr Street studios, less than a week after a deal to save it collapsed.

But other businesses sharing the city centre site, including the celebrated 3345 private members club, a hotel and local design firms, still face the axe.

The pension fund that officially owns the Parr Street building, which belongs to the ex-Genesis frontman and two other former band members, yesterday announced it was withdrawing it from sale.

A statement posted on the official Genesis website said a new management team was being brought in to run the centre and review all of the businesses based there.

It comes less than a week after the company announced the site was being put on the open market, prompting fears the studios would shut down in the next few days.

A business consortium led by singer Thomas Lang, who is behind the 3345 bar tried to buy it, but the deal collapsed. The recording studios are the largest outside London and have attracted names such as Pulp, New Order and Coldplay.

The statement issued by the pension fund yesterday read: "The Trustees have decided to withdraw the building from the market and contrary to the rumours and half truths, Parr Street Studios will not be closing but will continue to be run by the present owners under a new management company.

"Although the staff have been advised that their present employment will cease at the end of June it is anticipated that most of them will be employed by the new management company.

"With regard to the rest of the building, a review is to take place as to the best commercial use of the upper floors and it is anticipated that some changes will be made."

The statement went on to question the trio's motives and personally attacked Mr Lang.

The pension fund claims that the business consortium offered £1.2m for the building, which it felt was too low because there would be a potential increase in value if planning permission was given and it was later upped to £1. 35m.

It added they pulled out of a deal because they were unhappy with the contract and the price they were being offered as well as questioning the motivates of the consortium.

It wanted to add a clause saying they must share the profits if the building got planning permission but was then sold.

Last night Mr Lang said: "I have got no confidence in the integrity of this announcement. The management has not contacted any of the tenants and it certainly looks like they want me out.

"We are seeking legal advice on this. This is not the end." Agents for the owners applied for planning permission to turn it into 47 apartments along with shop, office and leisure space but the application has still not been resolved.

Louise Ellman, MP for Liverpool Riverside,: "I'm extremely surprised at the comments made because I have always found the consortium to be upfront and honourable.

"We must retain as much of this centre as possible. It is a very important part of Liverpool."

© Liverpool.co.uk, by Sam Lister

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