Grahame Whateley’s Castlemore Securities has gone into administration.
Grant Thornton and PricewaterhouseCoopers have been appointed adminstrators, representing Lloyds TSB and HSBC respectively.
As revealed by Property Week (14/11/08) the company had hired Deloitte to advise it on restructuring its debt. But following a further deterioration in the market the rescue attempt failed.
The West Midlands-based company was founded by Whateley 38 years ago. It had already been forced to make significant redundancies at its subsidiaries including Spring UR, its regeneration arm, as revealed by Property Week in January (09/01/09).
Castlemore shelved two regeneration projects last year including in Leeds where it had planned a £275m regeneration scheme known as Brunswick Place.
It did have a £1bn development pipeline across the country including Temple Quay in Bristol to Holborn Viaduct in central London. It also owned a significant number of retail parks.
Whateley said: ‘I deeply regret that it has become necessary to take these steps.
‘I have worked hard over my career to build the business, to the point where we were one of the UK’s largest independent property firms.
'Now, we have been caught in a financial crisis, not of our making, and in the maelstrom brought about by the meltdown in the property market and paralysis of the banking sector. We have done everything we could to prevent the current situation arising, but these factors were totally outside our control.
He added: ‘Having worked 24/7 for the last 47 years, I now intend to retire being 65 years of age, but it greatly saddens me to do so under these circumstances.’
Whateley will be continuing as chairman of Local Shopping REIT and his non-executive role with AIM-listed Arden Partners.