Mailbox bosses in crunch talks over future of complex
One of Birmingham’s flagship shopping centres, the 1.5 million sq ft Mailbox, could be forced onto the market by its owners following crunch talks with banks, it has emerged.
Mark Billingham and Alan Chatham, owners of the £100 million complex, are said to be in discussions with lenders Lloyds Banking Group and the Royal Bank of Scotland over the future of the project.
Reports said Lloyds appointed property experts Savills to draw up a report on the Mailbox in March, with options of a sale or even calling in administrators.
The banks have already agreed a refinancing of the Mailbox back in 2007, when a proposed sale fell through.
The development, which has attracted the likes of Harvey Nichols, Emporio Armani and Hugo Boss, was put up for sale in April 2007 but was subsequently taken off the market as investors struggled to find financial backing.
Owner Alan Chatham said at the time that worldwide uncertainty across the investment market had blocked the proposed £300 million sale.
Only last month Mr Chatham and Mr Billingham’s Birmingham Development Company collapsed into administration after failing to agree funding for the prestige Cube development, next door to the Mailbox.
The company was placed into administration by its directors after being unable to reach agreement with Lloyds Banking Group to complete the development. The £100 million Cube scheme was the second phase of the Mailbox scheme, the brainchild of Mr Chatham and Mr Billingham.
The team behind the project says it will nevertheless be completed despite the administration of Birmingham Development Company and its main contractor arm Build Ability.
Mr Chatham and Mr Billingham bought the 850,000 sq ft former Royal Mail sorting office for £4 million in April 1998 and developed the Mailbox scheme.
None of the parties involved in the Mailbox discussions have commented on the current banking talks over the complex.