With the vibrant Media City such a success,
Salford has stepped up the pace of change.
A clear example is provided by Salford Cultural
and Place Partnership (SCPP) appointing AEA to
devise a new cultural strategy for the city.
AEA, which undertook a similar commission for
Brooklyn in New York, will aim to provide a blue
print to bolster the city’s appeal for new business
start-ups in the creative and cultural industries.
A host of local organisations make up SCPP
from Salford City Council, the U
niversity of Salford
to the Lowry and Arts Council England. They aim
to promote Salford as a national and international
centre for culture.
Salford Mayor, Paul Dennett, said: “The
contribution of Quays Culture alone to the Greater
Manchester economy has been valued at £94.5
million in just one year.”
This initiative fits neatly into the pattern in
Salford, which has moved ahead of many other
local authorities with a 32,701 sq metres (352,000
sq ft) development programme for offices in
Manchester city centre in a £200 million
This sets a new benchmark for local
authorities, moving ahead of those authorities
that buy properties to provide income but also
taking on risk. However, Dennett, a former
lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University,
believes Salford has to make money to counter
the loss of government funding. While it could
be hard to imagine anybody in local government
saying that austerity has provided pressure for
commercial activities, it has happened.
Media City is, of course, an attractive
proposition for investors, as seen with Atlas
Residential and the Hong Kong-based IP
Investment Management paying Peel £55 million
for a residential scheme. This is a 238 unit project
that will be developed by Peel.
Residential development has certainly taken
off in the major cities of the North West. An
example is Scarborough and Beijing Construction
Engineering Group’s Middlewood Locks with the
completion of Phase 1 of the £1 billion project.
This phase is 571 apartments and 929 sq metres
(10,000 sq ft) of commercial space.
Ultimately, the 24.5 acre development on the
waterside site where Manchester and Salford
meet will have 2,215 homes and 83,610 sq
metres (900,000 sq ft) of commercial space
including hotels, shops, restaurants and a gym
grouped around three large basins.
Kevin McCabe of Scarborough commented:
“Middlewood Locks is a major undertaking for us,
which supports the regional economy with strong
job creation and offers much needed homes for
the city.” It provides a good example of
developing a brownfield site rather than using
the precious green areas that surround Salford
is the latest occupier of the
Universities Superannuation Scheme’s, The
Observatory, which has been refurbished. It has
a central location in Manchester overlooking
St Ann’s Square. Only two floors of the nine
storey building remain unlet. Rhys Evans of GVA
said: “The refurbishment and the quality of the
space, together with the central location have
all added to its popularity and recent success.”
Commercial Property Register
December 2017 - March 2018www.compropregister.com
All the numbers add up for
vibrant regional economy and
property industry which is
transforming so many towns
At the heart of it is the
Manchester city centre office
market which is turning in
consistently high levels of
take-up and attracting major
global companies (such as
Amazon, now pushing hard in
the North West).
However, this is only part
of the picture. There is a new
entrepreneurial spirit in local
government as shown by
Warrington Borough Council
buying Birchwood Park and
Salford embarking on an
programme. Both want to boost
their income in the face of
Indeed, Salford has grown
in confidence as Peel has
expanded along the Manchester
Ship Canal and developed the
Media City, which has become
a mecca for cultural and media
companies. Now the council is
developing a new initiative to
boost its cultural credentials.
The one uncertainty at the
moment is what Mayor Andy
Burnham will do. Will he
damage the successful
development model pushed for
decades by Sir Howard
Bernstein? So far he has
indicated his main concern is to
boost housing provision. Sadly,
history tells us that politicians
want to make their mark and
may do irrational things. Time
In many ways Burnham
has been dealt a good hand
because of the strength of the
high tech industry; the
entrepreneurial spirit among
developers and the major
presence of Manchester Airport.
An indication of the current
confident mood in Manchester is
that the big NOMA development
is moving along with a contractor
appointed for the £34 million
refurbishment of H nover, a
city centre warehouse.
It is being remodelled to provide
8,434 sq.metres (91,000sq.ft.
Grade A offices and 1,672 sq.metres
) of retail and leisure.
The developers, Hermes and the
Co-op, hope to attract technology
and creative companies to the property
in the emerging d strict for innovative
businesses. B Tolhurst of Hermes
said: “Hanover will offer prime
heritage space that will appeal to
businesses wanting the connectivity
to Victoria station and the ameniti s
offered by the Northern Quarter”.
On the move
One of the more interesting
deals in Manchester brought
the largest Indian bicycle maker
to the city to open a £2 million
Hero Cycles produces one in 20
of all the bikes produced in the w rld
and is now likely to open a productio
plant in the city, which is well known
for being the home of British Cycling.
Ideally, Hero would like to supply its
top bik s to the UK t am.
Pankaj Munjal, Her ’s Chairman,
ointed o Manchester’s history of
innovation, citi g computers and
graphene as examples, as another
reason for the move, together with
the large student population.
Hero already owns Avocet, a
Manchester based bike designer that
FOR THE CITY
If any company has influenced
the life of a major city, then
surely it has to be Peel with its
huge scheme for Liverpool
following on from the magic
it has created in Salford.
This is evident from JLL whose
Stephen Hogg said: “Growth in
Liverpool, in part led by
regeneration schemes such as
Peel’s £5.5 billion Liverpool Waters
and the new £1 billion knowledge
quarter, is drawing further interest
from institutional investors”.
Such is the success of the office
market that HMRC’s leasing of the
32,515 sq.metres (350,000sq.ft
India Building, which is owned
by Shelborn Asset Management,
has created something of a
The problem has been caused
by the city’s success in the past year
which has taken so much out of
the market through lettings and
conversion to residential while
developers sat on their hands so
that a shortage became inevitable.
Noting the shortage of available
space, Ian Steele of GVA said:
“Given the current levels of
demand and absorption rates, it is
likely that this supply will diminish
within the next 6 to 12 months,
leaving the city without any
buildings that can offer occupiers
large Grade A floorplates”.
He added that this is likely to
reduce future levels of demand as
well as Liverpool’s ability to attract
large scale inward investment.
One major scheme going ahead
is in Lime Street, with ISG set to
deliver the £39 million mixed use
project for a partnership of Neptune
Developments, Liverpool City
Council and Sigma Capital on a site
owned by the Curlew Student Trust.
The scheme will have 5 retail
units, a 10 storey building of
student accommodation with 412
units and a Premier Inn with 101
bedrooms. Andy McLinden of ISG
commented: “The Lime Street area
has been in desperate need of a
catalyst scheme to revitalise this
k y thoroughfare ne r the centre
f the city. The mixed use scheme
represent the first phase of the
knowl dge quarter master plan
and is a hugely import nt regional
project th t will enhance t
character and aspiration of t is
k y gateway in the city”.
Through boom and bust,
Manchester continues to
perform as it follows the long
settled path of being a
world-class city to match its
soccer teams and music scene.
The ambition is being stepped
up at MIPIM with an enlarged
corporate participation in a pavilion
on the Croissete. The market is also
holding up in all areas with the city
centre notching up a big take up figure again and steady
performances in Warrington, south Manchester and Salford Quays
to complete the picture.
The outlook for new development in the city centre is favourable,
particularly because of a shortage of prime stock and further indicated
by the forward momentum of the major NOMA scheme by the
Co-op and Hermes. Bew development is also occurring elsewhere in
the region, such as another town centre proj ct in Rochdale.
An important part of the equation is that former Chancellor of
the Exchequer, George Osborne’s enthusiasm for the Northern
Powerhouse is continuing with sufficient energy behind the
campaign to make it work.
The other important dimension is that Liverpool appears to have
broken out of the decades long cycle of decline and has lots of
positive things happening in the economy and property industry.
The fact that it has a growing city centre population of young
professionals surely says something about its attractions.
are hosting an open
day on Friday 17th March to
showcase 910 Birchwood Boulevard
Business Park, their latest
refurbishment of an 8,500sq.ft.
detached office building in
Birchwood, Warrington and also to
discuss further plans for Birchwood
Boulevard Business Park. All are
welcome - contact the agents,
BE Group or Knight Frank.
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