Developer bids to allay residents’ fears at ‘high end’ town apartment block

RESIDENTS in a new apartment block have spoken of their fears for their financial future – and the security and maintenance of their homes.

However, they have been assured by the man behind the development that their fears are unfounded and that in time the building will live up to the high standards he has set for it.

Tony Coates says he recognises the concerns of a minority of residents at the 35 home Pullman Court apartment block in Grays but says that, like any new project, there are ‘snagging’ problems to be addressed.

Water from the roof is drained onto the flat patios, where it is causing damage to the walls and leaking through to the car park.

“There will always be teething problems with a new build but we are tackling them,” he said. 

“I think we have built the best looking new building in Grays, it has extremely high standards, superb design and the majority of the people who have moved in are happy with it.

Problems

“And if there were any problems Thurrock Council would have been involved but they have inspected it and they are over the moon. It’s a high end build.”

Pullman Court, behind the now derelict Pullman pub on Grays High Street, was promoted as ‘aspirational’ living in the heart of a thriving town and was marketed as a development of high quality and a secure investment.

However, Mr Coates acknowledges that there have been delays in bringing the building to completion and says he needs to sell the remaining apartments to be able to ensure all the finishing is done.

He also says that ensuring it is completed to the standards he set will hit him in the pocket!

The showcase development promised high standards of design and living

“It’s a matter of cash flow. The banks have been helpful but at the end of the day we need to bring money in by selling the rest of the flats to be able to complete the sale. When the money comes in, we will be able to invest in completing it to the standards we set,” he told the Thurrock Independent.

A representative of residents had contacted the newspaper claiming their fears about getting defects completed and the future maintenance of the property were being ignored.

Concerns of residents

Among their concerns were lifts not working, water leaking through walls and also into the car park undercroft where damage was being done to cars.

They pointed to Mr Coates’ complex personal business history and the fact that there had been two efforts to wind up the company behind Pullman Court in the High Court.

Our reporter was able to wander unchallenged through security and found electrical units and wiring left unsecured.

The latest was in January when building supplier Jewson petitioned the court, but Mr Coates says that bill has been settled and that his company – TC Project Management Ltd – is not only solvent, it is planning to continue to look after the interests of the residents and is currently on the verge of appointing a company, Warwick Estates, to be the building’s management company.

However, he says the actions of some residents might be putting that deal at risk.

“They are very quick to criticise me and the building, but then they treat it with disrespect, leaving fag butts all over the garden – burning the artificial turf – leaving rubbish and packaging everywhere and generally leaving a mess for me to clean up at my expense,” he said.

‘Yes, there are issues’

“They have to realise they have an obligation to the building too.

“Yes, there are issues, there have been leaks in the building and in the car park and there have been problems with things like the lifts, but we are working on them. These things happen with new builds.

“I have people down there now, working to put things right. I have invested a lot in this building, too much really, it has cost me a lot, but I am committed to it.”

One of the main financial institutions behind the building’s original financing is Pluto Finance. A source at the company said it had been assured that Mr Coates’ company would address the issues.

One of the showcase apartments. Two and three bedroom versions are on the market for upwards of £275,000.

That is despite the fact there are a number of financial charges outstanding on the company including financial institutions Cpb Residential Finance Limited and Omni Capital Partners Limited.

Mr Coates has a complex history in property development, with a track record of directorships of a number of companies across the south of England from Chelmsford and London-based offices – some now dissolved.

‘No connection’

Over recent years he has been involved in partnerships with other businessmen in connection with Pullman Court and one of them, Michael Magee is keen to distance himself from the Pullman Court project.

Advertising on the Pullman Court site lists ‘Prime City Estates’ as one of the property sellers, but Mr Magee – a one time co director with Mr Coates in another company, Pullman Construction Ltd –  has been at pains to stress that is nothing to do with his current company, Prime City Developments – where Mr Coates was once a director.

Mr Magee told the Thurrock Independent: “Prime City Developments want to make it very clear they have no connection whatsoever with the Pullman Court development. 

“A now resigned ex-director of Prime City Developments owns a separate company called TC Project Management and was the principal contractor on the Pullman Court project.”