Former world championship boxer Ricky Hatton has emerged as a key investor in a £30 million office, flats and shops in the heart of Leicester.
Through his property investment company, the Manchester-based multiple title-winner has taken a “significant” stake in the residential part of the redevelopment of the former Leicester City Council site in New Walk.
Two buildings The are being erected by Leicester property company Sowden Group, using contractors Sisk to do the work.
The site will have 50,000 sq ft of Grade A office space for wealth management and employee benefit business Mattioli Woods, which has outgrown headquarters in Grove Park. Enderby.
The offices will bring more than 500 jobs to the site.
Also in the development are 54 high-end apartments – which Ricky is buying a share in – and 10,000 sq ft of retail space.
Ricky said he was delighted to invest in such an important city centre project after getting to know Sowden Group owner and managing director Roy Coley through the industry.
He said: “Obviously my boxing career has enabled me and my advisors to become involved in other projects since retirement, and like most successful sportsmen there is no shortage of fly-by-nights looking to relieve the company of the money I earned in the ring.
“That’s why it’s good to know someone like Roy who is a man who knows property and building much the same as I know boxing and we have similar backgrounds.
“I feel we can work in complete confidence and in Mike Ball at MacIntyre Hudson we both have the reassurance that we are well supported by the same professional advisors.”
Ricky, who was awarded the MBE in 2007, has held world championship titles in light welterweight and welterweight divisions.
Before retiring from the ring in 2012 he won 45 of his 48 professional fights, 32 of them by a knockout. He was named Fighter of the Year in 2005.
Through his property investment company he has other investments in Leicestershire and the East Midlands as well as elsewhere in the UK and overseas.
Sowden MD Roy Coley said: “The New Walk development is a prestigious one for the city of Leicester and it is fantastic that Ricky has made a significant investment in the project.”
Sowden Group has been involved in some of the biggest regeneration projects in the centre of Leicester, including the £300 million Highcross shopping centre development.
The group is also involved in residential projects throughout the county, including developments in Loughborough and Melton Mowbray.
It is also behind plans for a new apartment block in Vaughan Way and helped construct a supermarket for Asda and office block in Pioneer Park, off Leicester’s A6.
It was also behind a Travelodge and Gala Casino, which were built next to Highcross.