A flagship £30million scheme to transform the historic Birmingham Mint building in to luxury flats has been halted after bank bosses pulled the plug on funding.
Dozens of contractors are owed cash and investors who bought every one of the 186 apartments before the building had started at the site in Hockley face an anxious wait to hear whether work will continue.
Developers Junared stopped the project six weeks before Christmas when they were told that the Bank of Scotland was no longer willing to bankroll the project.
The Birmingham Post reported last week how the same bank had left a city developer owing more than £2 million after it withheld funding for three months before finally backing out of the deal.
The £24million Horizon block of flats in Sheldon is in the hands of administrators after White Fire Developments was forced to fold when Bank of Scotland withdrew cash payments.
But the building managers appointed by Junared said that they were confident that The Mint would be completed.
Paul Gaynham, director of Hagley-based building management firm Ninex, said: “The situation is that the scheme is being reappraised and restructured but it’s fair to say that the work has stopped and we don’t have a restart date as yet.
“The funding just isn’t there in the present climate and it’s no big secret in the trade that the Bank of Scotland is looking very closely at every one of its projects.
“We’re talking to Junared all the time and the feeling is that the project will get completed but possibly not as quickly as it would have been hoped.
“There are outstanding payments to contractors but I think it is hoped that everything will be resolved in the long term.
“White Fire went voluntarily in to administration and Junared are not in the position where they need to do that.”
According to Junared’s website, all of the 186 one, two and three-bed flats on Icknield Street at the fringes of the Jewellery Quarter have been sold.
The development was designed to create a modern living space while preserving Grade I and II-listed features including the 130ft chimney which originally sat above a furnace to smelt metals for coins.
The Birmingham Mint closed in 2003 after more than 200 years of producing currency for countries across the globe.
Nobody from High Wycombe-based Junared was available for comment.
Meanwhile, anger continued over the collapse of White Fire, which was also behind the nearly-completed Ansty Court development on Caroline Street in the Jewellery Quarter.
Contractors have criticised the Bank of Scotland, which is part of the HBOS group that was taken over by Lloyds TSB last year.
The owner of one firm, who asked not to be named, said: “Horizon is nowhere near finished and if the bank thinks it can get it done quick and sell the flats then they are mistaken.
“People who are owed money or have put a deposit on one of those flats are going to be waiting years before they see a penny.
“What makes me the most angry is that the bank got cold feet three months before Christmas but allowed us to carry on working.
“That means that when they repossess the building, it will be three months further advanced at our expense.
“Nobody blames White Fire for one minute but we are very angry with the bank.”
The Bank of Scotland has said it is not willing to comment on the finances of individual firms.