YORK'S Roman Quarter development site has been placed on the market - just months after finally winning planning permission.

The attraction, set for Rougier Street, has been described as a "once in a lifetime opportunity" and is set to feature a new underground Roman museum – Eboracum – along with an 88-room aparthotel, 153 new apartments and new office space.

It is expected to bring about 500,000 visitors to York a year, create 50 new jobs and boost the visitor economy by around £21 million.

But now the quarter is being sold as a 'prime development opportunity located in the heart of York.'

Agents Knight Frank say unconditional offers are being sought for the 0.7 acre site, which includes Northern House, Rougier House, Lendal Arches and Society Bar.

They say the site comes with permission for the demolition of 1-9 Rougier Street and construction of 153 apartments, an 88-room aparthotel, 20,000 square feet of offices and a 35,000 square ft visitor attraction.

"The site is offered on a freehold basis, with largely vacant possession, save for one lease expiring in 2025.

"The site is being sold by informal tender. Purchasers are to submit their offer no later than Thursday 20th April."

A spokesperson for the owner of the site, Rougier Street Developments Ltd, said today it had 'decided to offer the opportunity to the market to try and secure delivery of the project and the interest of a partner with the ability to see the site delivered.'

They added that Rougier Street Developments had always been the owner of the site, but North Star partnered with it through the planning process.  

The Press reported last August that the Roman Quarter proposals had been branded financially unviable by property experts - but the findings had been strongly disputed by developers behind the scheme.

City of York Council commissioned Stannybrook Property Consultants Ltd to conduct an independent financial viability assessment review (FAVR) on the development ahead of planners considering a revised planning application, after an initial application was thrown out last year.

A report by Stannybrook said the FVAR had demonstrated that viability was a material consideration in this instance,adding: "It is clear that the proposed development, even without any Section 106 contributions, is financially unviable to deliver."

But Paul Ellis, from developers North Star, insisted Roman Quarter was viable for North Star because, unlike other ‘traditional’ shorter term projects, it was taking a long term, 50 year view and retaining the property.

“Traditional development viability reports are based on shorter term development exits – ie the sale of the property upon completion," he said.

"Whereas on this project York Archaeological Trust are taking a long term lease and we have decided to retain the property for the long term.

“Remember we have owned this property now for over five years and committed over £1 million on planning. We are very much committed to delivery and retention and to the future of York.”

The redevelopment has been slammed by the Council for British Archaeology, which claimed the heritage visitor attraction was being used “as leverage to overdevelop the site as a whole,” but the York Archaeological Trust accused the council of making misleading arguments and claimed the scheme provided an exceptional opportunity to deliver enormous public benefits.'

The Press is today seeking a comment from North Star on its decision to sell the site and the implications for the development, including the Eboracum Roman museum.