Owner of IYLO skyscraper in Croydon refuses questions over building
THE offshore owner of an unfinished skyscraper has refused to answer questions about the building's future.
This week the Advertiser traced the ownership of the IYLO building in West Croydon to the Minerva Trust, an asset management company in Jersey.
But when we asked why the tower has sat unfinished for nearly two years, the trust said it was "not policy to enter into any communication with the media".
Jersey-based Rosefair bought the IYLO for £10 million in October 2011, four months after St James's Croydon, a subsidiary of developers Phoenix Logistics, went into administration.
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Records from the Jersey Financial Services Commission reveal that Rosefair is owned by Minerva Nominees and Minerva Services Limited, known collectively as the Minerva Trust.
The company has offices in Jersey, London, Geneva, Mauritius and Dubai and administers over $15 billion (£9.9 billion) of assets for its clients.
The Advertiser contacted the trust's headquarters in St Helier, Jersey, and was given an e-mail address for a man called Don Dos Santos.
He refused to reveal when, or if, work would restart on the tower, which comprises 182 mainly one and two-bedroom apartments. Last month the Advertiser visited the site and found it unsecured and covered in graffiti.
We asked the council what it is doing to resolve the situation. All a spokesperson would say was: "We are in contact with the new owners and we're working on bringing the scheme forward."
Jason Perry, cabinet member for planning, regeneration and transport, said he was unable to give further details.
When asked how it contacts Rosefair, the council said it "liased" with Thomas Mudd, at the company's appointed agent Jones Lang LaSalle.
When we contacted Mr Mudd, he said: "It's a total misunderstanding. We are not and never have been Rosefair's appointed agent. I have phoned Rory Macleod (the council's head of planning) and told him in no uncertain terms that we are not retained by Rosefair."
Jones Lang LaSalle had "done some work" for Rosefair concerning the IYLO building, Mr Mudd said, though he did not say what.
"I don't know their agenda," he added. "I guess they will let us know at some point."
Mr Mudd said that he had passed on the Advertiser's requests to speak to Rosefair and that the developer would be in contact "at some point".
The council rejected his claim and insisted that Jones Lang LaSalle is Rosefair's appointed agent but Mr Mudd was unavailable for further comment.
Labour leader Tony Newman said: "It can't be right that an offshore fund that clearly has no interest in Croydon's long-term future can be allowed to let this situation continue. Something has to change. If not the council then the Mayor of London should intervene. It's no good having ambitious plans for the town centre when one of the gateways into Croydon is blighted by an unfinished skyscraper."
The company was one of 17 parties interested in buying the IYLO building. They paid a £100,000 exclusivity fee to secure the deal.
The Minerva Trust is not connected to the developer of the same name which owns 6.1 acres of land in the town centre, including Park Place and the former Allders department store.