There are so many indicators of the success of
Manchester as a powerful regional city economy
that it is hard to choose the most important.
One milestone is that the Allied London
Spinningfields development is nearing completion.
It has really set the agenda in the city for the past
decade and more since Allied boss Michael Ingall’s
first proposal in 1997.
Allied has now released two floors on N0 1,
Spinningfields on the 15th and 16th floors. Such
large scale schemes are necessary for the success of
the Northern Powerhouse, a concept that looms so
large in the economic future of the North of England.
The fact that £3.4 billion has been committed to
Northern Powerhouse projects should go some way
to assuaging the critics of the project. In fact Brexit
could help the Northern Powerhouse by increasing
the UK’s redistribution of power away from London.
Manchester (and Leeds) is equipping itself for the
challenge of the concept with new developments,
such as the development by Ask and the Richardson
family in a joint venture with Patrizia for a 59,675 sq
metres (750,000 sq ft) office scheme in First Street.
This takes Ask back to the 20-acre site which it pre-
viously sold to Patrizia, which continues to own and
manage the retail and leisure space at First Street.
The office development will be in four phases.
Another major scheme is the £175 million
mixed-use development of the former Boddington’s
Brewery by Prosperity Capital Partners to be named
Old Brewery Gardens. Indeed, it will have a large
central garden that features an open air cinema.
At the nearby NOMA scheme, MEPC has been
appointed by Hermes as development manager for
the 20-acre project. Hermes’ Chris Taylor said:
“Appointing MEPC is in line with our long-term
strategy for the development to create a leading
commercial hub in the heart of Manchester.”
Commercial Property Register
March - June 2018www.compropregister.com
Harry Skinner says ‘In November last year WHR Property Consultants
were acquired by Avison Young, a Canadian based commercial real
estate services firm with over 2,600 professionals across the US,
Canada, Mexico and Europe.
Following the takeover we have relocated into a bigger office at St James Square and now have 38
full-time staff including a new Valuation team enabling us to provide a full service offering to clients.
Avison Young has 81 offices worldwide and we are now working with colleagues in both London and
the Midlands which has increased our market reach and contact base across the UK. The office market in
Manchester has remained buoyant over the last year with several keynote deals edging towards
completion such as Irwin Mitchell and WSP taking large chunks of space in the city centre and whilst
these high profile transactions attract the bigger headlines and underpin the take up statistics, it is the
sub 5,000 square foot market which continues to thrive with this number of transactions again
accounting for 80% of the market in 2017. Landlords who are willing to refurbish tired office space to
meet the changing needs of occupiers will be rewarded with rental growth. We have seen in buildings
such as 196 Deansgate and Abbey House a sharp increase in achieved rents’.
Increasingly Manchester is
viewed as the capital of the
Northern Powerhouse as the
concept gains momentum in
transforming the economy of
As much as anything
else, planning the economy
of the north as one major
urban area with significant
economic centres such as
Greater Manchester, Mer-
seyside, Sheffield, Leeds and
South Yorkshire, as well as
the North East exerts its own
influence on growth.
To some extent we will
see the investment in infra-
structure by Network Rail
which is improving capacity
in a host of relatively modest
ways. Transport is surely the
key to growth in the region.
Also vital is that the ma-
jor cities are equipped with
modern office and industrial
space, which is surely true
of Manchester and Leeds.
Elected mayors, such as Andy
Burnham in Manchester, are
playing a vital political role,
also aiding the rebalancing of
the UK away from the south.
The developers are play-
ing a significant role in this as
we can see with Peel at Liver-
pool Waters. Whatever is said
about property developers,
many of them take the long
view such as Peel and Michael
Ingall’s Allied London at
Spinningfields. Before people
starting shouting the words
“property speculators” they
shoud take a look around
some of the new areas that
have transformed cities in the
north (and elsewhere).
An indication of the current
confident mood in Manch ster is
that the big NOMA develop nt
is moving along with a co tractor
appointed for the £34 mi lion
refurbishment of Hanov r, 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.
Th developers, Hermes and the
Co-op, hope to attract technology
and creative companies to the property
in the m rging district for innovative
businesses. Ben Tolhurst of Hermes
said: “Hanover will offer prime
heritage space that will appeal to
businesses wanting the connectivity
to Victoria station and the amenities
offered by the Northern Quarter”.
On the move
One of the more interesting
deals in Manchester brought
the l rgest Indian bicycle maker
to the city to open a £2 million
Hero Cycles produces one in 20
of all the bikes produced in the world
and is now likely to open a production
plant in the city, which is well known
for being the home of British Cycling.
Ideally, Hero would like to supply its
top bikes to the UK team.
Pankaj Munjal, Hero’s Chairman,
pointed to Manchester’s history of
innovation, citing 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
bedr oms. Andy McLinden of ISG
comm nted: “Th Lime Street area
has been in desperate need of a
catalyst scheme to revitalise this
key thoroughfare near the centre
of the city. The mixed use scheme
represents the first phase of the
knowledge quarter master plan
and is a hugely important regional
project that will enhance the
character and aspiration of this
key 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 project in Rochdale.
An important par of the equation is that former Chancellor of
the Exchequ r, Geo ge 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 o t of the deca es 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.
Fr nkel Brow
are hosting an open
day on Friday 17th March to
showcase 910 Birchwood Boulevard
B siness Park, th ir 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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