Development Focus: The Chapel, Tinlings, Crosshalls

Development Focus: The Chapel, Tinlings, Crosshalls
Development Focus: The Chapel, Tinlings, Crosshalls




Fact File:

Developer – Vita Student

Name of project – The Chapel, Tinlings, Crosshalls

Location – Crosshall Street Liverpool

Size – 120,000 sq ft 

Lead contractor – Russells Construction

Type of building – Private student accommodation

Status – In progress. Completion in three phases: September 2013, December 2013, September 2014

Architect – Neil Collins Homes

Project Value – Development £27m

Work to bring back into use three empty buildings in Liverpool city centre has begun. Russells Construction is undertaking the 120,000 sq ft Vita Student accommodation scheme in Crosshall Street in three phases: The Chapel, Tinlings and Crosshalls with completions staggered throughout 2013 and 2014. 

The Vision

Over the next two years the £27million scheme will see developer Vita Student bring a total of 357 high specification student apartments to the market. Each apartment will feature a double bed, ensuite bathroom, living area and kitchenette. In addition, The Tinlings building will house a 3,500 sq ft retail unit at ground floor level and a gym in the basement.

The Consultation

All three buildings – the Grade II listed former Weslyan Chapel, 1878 Crosshalls and 1960s Tinlings – were vacant for six years prior to Vita Student’s acquisition. Wilmslow-based architect practice Neil Collins Homes designed a scheme that would retain the heritage facades of the Chapel and Crosshalls, and enhance the appearance of the more modern Tinlings. Protecting the historic buildings and ensuring a high quality street scene were the twin aims of both the developer and the planners.

The site

The 0.4-acre site is on Crosshall Street, a main arterial road in the heart of Liverpool City Centre. All three buildings are being constructed concurrently and there is little room for storage and plant on site. Russells is managing a tight delivery schedule with all supplies and subcontractors subject to a strict timetable. Most of the works will take place inside the gutted building which will be built from the inside out.


A technically challenging project, the heritage facades are being protected and external walls retained while the entire internal structure is rebuilt. Contractor Russells Construction has been on site since September removing internal structures and preparing for construction to begin.

Russells has appointed three site managers to deliver the scheme, one for each of The Chapel, Crosshalls and Tinlings, under a single project director to make sure good communication is maintained and to oversee the coordination of the different elements.  

Inside the Chapel and Crosshalls an RMD quickform facade retention system has been employed to allow for the removal of internal structures. Then, an internal steel skeleton will be built to support the internal floors and will be fixed to support the external walls before the retention system is removed. The concrete floors will be poured in situ with access through the window openings. This will be followed be a full internal fit out with partition walls, high quality bathroom and kitchens installed, right down to the beds and televisions.

Andrew Russell, managing director of Russells Construction, said: “Although two of the buildings have architecturally important heritage facades, the internal structure and layout of The Chapel and Crosshalls are no longer fit for purpose. A demolition and internal rebuild provides the best solution for protecting their facade and enhancing the street scene, while also making best use of space to create a modern, comfortable interior for residents. Tinlings is from a different era but its original design will be echoed in the new glass and aluminium curtain walling, and a two-storey upward extension will provide additional space.

“This is a technically challenging project to which we bring expertise in heritage refurb and new build, and apply techniques developed building on small footplates within tight site constraints to effectively construct the building from the inside out. The improvements will ultimately lengthening the lifespan and bring back into use three large and important city centre buildings.”

Occupancy and future

Serving the student population of Liverpool, home to three universities and several colleges, the scheme is already proving popular with both investors and young people coming into the city to study. Off plan sales have already seen sales reach 60 per cent at Crosshalls, while The Chapel and Tinlings are already sold out.

The first part of the project to be complete will be The Chapel in September, ready for the new academic year. The Tinlings will be ready for occupation by the end of the year while Crosshalls, the largest phase, will finish September 2014.

Vita Student is a luxury student property brand founded by Cheshire entrepreneurs Chris Oakes, of Alderley Edge-based luxury residential developer Huntsmere, and Mark Stott of Wilmslow-based property investment company, Select Property.

Chris Oakes: “We selected this development for its potential to provide much needed student accommodation in this area and embraced the opportunity to revitalise these buildings in the heart of the city. We’re pleased work is progressing well and look forward to completions starting to come through at the end of the summer. The interest we’ve had in this scheme demonstrates the huge demand there is for this type of high quality product in Liverpool.”

Ben Crowther
Ben Crowther