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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, t

he 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

and Manchester.



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 2018




All the numbers add up for

vibrant regional economy and

property industry which is

transforming so many towns

and cities.

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

ambitious development

programme. Both want to boost

their income in the face of

government spending


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. Sa


history tells us that politicians

want to make their mark and

may do irrational things. Time

will tell.

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 (91,000


) of

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

design centre.

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




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 (350,000



India Building, which is owned

by Shelborn Asset Management,

has created something of a

supply crisis.

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.



Frankel Brow

are hosting an open

day on Friday 17th March to

showcase 910 Birchwood Boulevard

Business Park, their latest

refurbishment of an 8,500


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.

NW Editorial March 2017:Layout 1 6/3/17 16:04 Page 4