Done brothers prepare to start on St Peter’s Square block

FRED and Peter Done are expected to make a start on their planned office block in Manchester’s St Peter’s Square next year, with or without a pre-let.

Deloitte Real Estate, which advised the Dones on the planning process, has already started work on fulfilling various planning conditions, such as a demolition schedule for the existing buildings and the materials which will be used – a stage which usually precedes construction work.

There is also an expectation in the property market that the brothers are keen to push ahead, have finance, and as owners of the Betfred betting chain, may be more willing than others to gamble on a speculative build at a time when there are some significant requirements and a lack of grade A supply.

Known requirements in the market are 80,000 sq ft for accountancy group EY, the same amount for fellow accountants PwC, and 50,000 sq ft for law firm Addleshaw Goddard. Barclays is looking for 80,000 sq ft, but is said to be heading to Piccadilly Place, and Autotrader publisher Trader Media is looking for 60,000 sq ft. Bolton law firm Keoghs has a requirement for around 20,000 sq ft.

Architect Ian Simpson has designed the Dones’ 230,000 sq ft, £80m building which will have 194,000 sq ft of office space, 5,500 sq ft of shops on the ground floor and basement parking for 43 cars. It will sit next to No 1 St Peter’s Square, which is currently being built, on the site of Century House, Sussex House, Bennett House and Clarendon House.

Michele Steel, a director of Deloitte Real Estate, told TheBusinessDesk.com: “We’ve already had a meeting about discharging the planning conditions. That’s with a view to it starting on site at some point in the first half of next year.

“If someone’s prepared to take a risk and put a spade in the ground they’re in a very good position for a number of the meatier requirements out there.”

She added: “The planning process is progressing and that usually only means one thing.”

TheBusinessDesk.com attempted to contact Fred Done and his finance director Barry Nightingale but had not received a response at the time of publication. DTZ has already started marketing the office block.

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