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Architect says work could yet restart at IYLO tower

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THE architect who designed the IYLO tower – the borough's most notorious eyesore – believes construction work could yet restart.

The graffiti-covered block of flats has stood unfinished on a Croydon roundabout since 2007.

Last week two pictures of IYLO's fully furnished marketing suite appeared on the Twitter account of Chris Darling, managing director of architects Darling Associates.

The tweets boasted that the 20-storey development featured 183 private residential units and achieved an excellent eco-homes rating.

While the once-flagship development is in reality a building site, this hints that work might begin for the first time since 2011.

When contacted by the Advertiser, Mr Darling this week said the pictures did not mean progress was imminent.

"Our marketing person was tweeting the images of our schemes generally, so please don't read anything into that," he said.

"The current situation with IYLO is that the project was purchased by a far-eastern developer off Lloyds Bank who became the controlling owners after the original developer withdrew. The project is on hold."

An ongoing Advertiser investigation has discovered that a businessman bought the building for £10 million in October 2011, four months after St James' Croydon, a subsidiary of original developers Phoenix Logistics, went into administration. The purchase was made via the Minerva Trust, an asset management company based in the tax haven of Jersey.

In order to ensure the true owner's anonymity, Minerva created a front company called Rosefair, which paid an exclusivity fee of £100,000 to secure the deal.

Records from the Jersey Financial Services Commission lists Rosefair's nominees as Derek Vernon Le Brun, the director of Minerva Middle East, and Sylvie Pierre, an associate director at the company.

This week the Advertiser traced the IYLO's real owner, but he has yet to respond to our questions.

Mr Darling said the developer had not contacted his firm for two years. He added: "We have picked up through our local contacts that moves are afoot to start work again. After all, the purchasers did not make their investment to let it rot away.

"Personally, I think it all depends on the Croydon residential market – if you see that picking up, with solid evidence, I am pretty sure you will see IYLO back on stream."

Workmen were on the site last week but the Advertiser understands this relates to a council request to tidy up.

A spokesman said: "We're liaising with the new owners to get the development back under way."

A two-bedroom apartment in the tower block, described in one advert as the borough's only 100 per cent private residential, was being marketed for £375,000.

The IYLO tower is just one example of overseas investors buying up property in Croydon, often through offshore tax havens.

Around 60 per cent of the 158 apartments in Berkley Homes' town centre development Saffron Square are being marketed to Far East investors in China, Hong Kong and Singapore as lucrative buy-to-let opportunities.

Leaked records from the British Virgin Islands tax haven have also revealed Israeli investors bought offices in Croydon in 2009.

Records within more than two million leaked e-mails show Israeli lawyer Yoram Yossifoff's Mydas Fund, based in Tel Aviv, bought Metro Point in Sydenham Road for £12 million in July.

Yossifoff's fund bought the office block from New Star Asset Management using a loan from Aviva, reflecting a net initial yield of 7.25 per cent.

The company name given for the new owners is Manternee, Croydon Government Office Limited partnership in Tel Aviv.

The building is leased to the Department for Transport (DfT) for £920,000 a year until 2020 and was bought through the use of tax loopholes and the secrecy offered by the British Virgin Islands.

For the latest on the IYLO tower, see this week's Croydon Advertiser, out on Friday (April 19).

Architect says work could yet restart at IYLO tower


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