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Commercial Property Register

December 2017 - March 2018

Building on its unrivalled history of scientific and technology

achievements, such as the first commercial commuter, Manchester is

pushing its high tech credential hard.

According to David Laws of Matthews & Goodman, the region’s

Technology, Media and Telecommunications sector (TMT) has never been

stronger and is having an impact on office design and specification.

While he stresses that the ambitious people in the industry want an

attractive office environment which “has to look like a cool bar or hotel

lobby than a traditional corporate interior”, functionality is also critical.

In his view much of the region’s existing buildings stock provides

ample scope for the essentials require by TMT companies, “thanks to the

red brick warehouses and 19th century light industrial units of Liverpool,

Manchester, Preston and the towns in between.”

Which brings us neatly to the 29 acre site of the University of

Manchester’s North Campus, close to Piccadilly railway station, that could

be in line for a £1 billion regeneration project. Manchester City Council

has asked CBRE to advise on the site, one of the few large remaining

undeveloped areas in the city centre.

The area has been earmarked for technology, education and research

and development after UMIST relocates to Oxford Road in 2021. Such a

large site has the potential for up to 2,500 homes, 139,350 sq metres

(1.5 million sq ft) of offices and shops as well as hotels but it must have

a research and knowledge-based emphasis to fit the university’s needs as

well as the wider perspective in the city.

What UMIST requires is a development partner for the project. CBRE is

expected to report on the options by the end of the year. It is likely that

high level research will figure prominently in the plans because this is the

site of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.

What makes this doubly important for the city is that it is adjacent

to the Mayfield regeneration scheme which is being undertaken by U+I

and while the plans are for slightly less housing and offices than the

North Campus, the question is whether both schemes fall foul of Mayor

Burnham’s new approach.

Judging from the success of the Universal Square Business Centre

which is 39% just six months after it was launched by MCR, the office

market in the city is in good health.

There are now 35 businesses at the centre, such as Carillion, RMB

Solicitors and Marsan Holdings. Chris Taylor of MCR said: “We expect the

business centre to be at full occupancy by the end of the year, and plan to

roll out the concept across other MCR buildings in the UK.”

Part of the management approach is to create a business community

among its occupiers.






A further piece of the jigsaw to

regenerate the city centre has come

with a joint venture between Henry

Boot and Greater Manchester

Property Venture Fund (GMPVF) for

the Island Site, John Dalton Street.

The attraction of the site, which has

Granger House, Old Colony House and

Ridgefield is that it is close to

Spinningfields and St Peter’s Square,

which are at the heart of the city.

Interestingly, this adds to the

substantial portfolio of properties that

Henry Boot has in the centre, which

include the Silk Works, the Courthouse

and the Equitable Building.

Cllr Kieran Quinn said: “The

development undertaken by GMPVF has

the twin aims of generating a

commercial return for the fund and

supporting the wider economy of the

North West. In this way we are able

to meet our future pension obligations

and invest locally.”

Adam Brady of Henry Boot added

that: “Our Manchester development

business has continued to expand its

portfolio and this latest appointment

underlines our commitment to the city.

The Island Site is an important

regeneration project and has huge


The attractions of Runcorn as a business destination are

demonstrated by two letting at Pin Properties’ Astmoor

Industrial Estate and Manor Park.

The warehouses, totalling 1,470 sq metres (15,824 sq

ft) were let/sold respectively by BE Group, whose Simon

Roddam said: “Both of the recent transactions have been with

inward investors highlighting the healthy supply of product in

Runcorn and the recent road link enhancement provided by

the Mersey Gateway Bridge.”

Lee Egerton, Asset Manager at Pin Properties, commented

that their refurbished warehouses in Runcorn are proving to

be an attractive offering.