Elliot Group’s growing portfolio of Liverpool developments is both a lesson in sound business and a love letter to the city
‘We’re on a world stage now.’ The words are uttered with an infectious grin and a clear confidence. From anyone else it might seem like hyperbole, misplaced pride, or a less-than-humble brag. But from Elliot Group’s Founding Director, Elliot Lawless, it’s simply a matter of fact. After all, it’s no understatement to say that, in just under a decade, Elliot has changed the face of Liverpool.
Elliot’s is an empire built from humble beginnings and a true passion for his home city. With 18 developments across Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester boasting a gross development value of £850m, Elliot has been responsible for the development of 5246 new homes and the generation of 2450 new jobs. And while his passion for property and development have taken him to cities beyond his hometown, Liverpool still remains his most loved city.
Seeing opportunities where others didn’t, Elliot beat 2011’s post-recession odds to breathe new life into Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle. As little as a decade ago, The Baltic was a more-or-less derelict warehouse district, a ghost of Liverpool’s once burgeoning industrial momentum. Fast-forward to 2018 and Elliot has paved the way for creatives, entrepreneurs and a myriad of small businesses, thereby laying the foundations for the future of the city.
‘We always knew it was a simple case of getting potential investors to the city,’ says Elliot. ‘We were confident that Liverpool’s charm and character would take it from there.’ Born and raised in Liverpool himself, it’s not hard to see how his ground-up, from-the-shop-floor enthusiasm for the city could be contagious. ‘It’s not until people actually come and experience the city that they realise just how special it really is. I truly believe that. Maybe my passion for the city has a tendency to rub off on people!’
But it’s not just the city’s charm that has been instrumental to Elliot’s success: ‘It also helps that we were consistently building on time, on budget, and with a healthy yield. There’s a real security to that,’ suggests Elliot. ‘At a time when other contractors weren’t performing so well, we became known for our ambition, dedication ability to see things through.’
According to Elliot, ongoing support from Liverpool City Council has also played a huge part in the company’s growth: ‘The council have always been an amazing ally. A lot of city councils like to create issues for developers. They create an us-versus-them mentality that doesn’t really help anyone. In true Liverpool fashion, the council have proved to be cooperative and open to different projects. They want to see the city grow as much as we do.’ But in the wrong hands, growth can prove to be somewhat intimidating. The sheer scale of both the Infinity Towers and the One Wolstenholme Square projects, for example, raised a more than a few eyebrows when first announced. ‘People thought I was crazy, Liverpool hadn’t really seen anything quite like these projects in terms of size,’ Elliot recalls. ‘But I sell Liverpool everyday; I know its potential. I see the excitement in people’s faces just to be here. Liverpool deserves this.’
When asked about people’s concerns for world heritage, Elliot shows a tremendous amount of respect for Liverpool’s rich history while also suggesting a desire to guide the city into a prosperous future. ‘I don’t want to stifle the city,’ says Elliot. ‘World heritage is a lovely thing, and I respect it massively. But we have to be careful not to keep things too ornamental. Heritage is a lovely idea but it’s dangerous if it’s used to hold a city down. It can be a little scary, but let’s just let this city grow organically and see what happens.’
In quarter one 2019, Elliot Group will be announcing some major projects which will see the group hit over a billion pounds invested in the city, with numerous projects not only completed, but completed ahead of schedule. By all accounts, it’s a labour of love for Elliot, but his dedication to the city is unwavering: ‘It’s about believing in the product. And in this case the product is Liverpool. It’s a beautiful city that does most of the work for me. And the best part about the city? It’s just getting started.’ EJ
Words by Ralph CAINS