Property round-up: Browne Jacobson; Crossfield Construction; Hillcrest Homes; Regional Property Solutions; Peel NRE

The Spinningfields design

Browne Jacobson has revealed its vision for the law firm office of the future with the unveiling of its new look Manchester office at No1 Spinningfields.

The design of its new third floor Manchester office, which will act as the blueprint for its four other UK offices in Birmingham, London, Nottingham and Exeter, is in line with the national powerhouse’s commitment to agile working and a response to evolving employee and client needs in a post-pandemic world.

Working closely with office design and fit out specialists, Office Innovations, the firm has created a modern, agile and vibrant office space that it envisages will be used less as a traditional office and more as a flexible hub allowing employees the flexibility to work both remotely and meet up with colleagues and clients for meetings, networking, socialising and collaborating.

In a recent survey of its 75-strong Manchester team, more than 90% expressed a desire to work more flexibly post-pandemic, splitting their working week between their home and the office.

The firm’s new office has been specially designed to be multi-functional, incorporating its inclusive and collaborative brand values throughout. In doing so the firm has reduced the number of standard desks in favour of open plan workstations, introduced modern seating furniture and installed the latest in video conferencing technology in response of the popularity of video and audio conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, creating a free-flowing, flexible, working and socialising environment.

Amanda Callaghan, partner and head of the Manchester office, said: “When the landlords approached us, we saw the opportunity to relocate within No1 Spinningfields as a win-win for us, the landlords and their new tenants. We have listened very carefully to how our people want to work going forwards and this has enabled us to create a modern office environment that has the perfect mix of social, private and collaborative working spaces befitting a national powerhouse law firm in a post-pandemic world.”


Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre

Crossfield Construction has been appointed to carry out the £3.1m transformation of Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre on behalf of Sefton Council, a project led by a local team from Crosby and the surrounding area.

Building work is now under way and will see Crossfield extend and remodel the centre, located at the entrance of Crosby Coastal Park. Work will include the creation of new hospitality and event facilities, new reception areas, sleeping accommodation and upgrades to the mechanical and electrical services.

The appointment is significant to the business, with one of its founding directors, David Cain, and many of the team hailing from Crosby and the surrounding area.

Mike Macaulay, director of Crossfield Construction, said: “It means a great deal to the team to have been successful in tendering this amazing project, which is a flagship for many reasons. First and foremost it will truly revive the Coastal Park and the wider area, but with many of our team having grown up in Crosby this project is very close to our hearts. We have an expert team in place whose experience will ensure that we deliver a high quality development for the area.”

Commitments to invest in the community include a variety of employment and training initiatives to support young people. These include apprenticeship weeks, work placement days, site visits, careers talks and the creation of new employment for unemployed local people.


Cumberland Street Campus

Hillcrest Homes has completed its purchase, for an undisclosed sum, of The King’s School’s historic Cumberland Street site and buildings following the relocation of the school to new premises on Alderley Road in Prestbury.

The King’s School’s Cumberland Street campus was widely considered ‘the jewel in the crown’ in the 500-year old independent school’s extensive estate and is home to the oldest of its buildings.

The purchase paves the way for the sensitive redevelopment of the six-acre site into a thriving new residential community carefully integrated into the heart of the town with a combination of sympathetic retention and conversion of the site’s listed and most historic buildings alongside high quality new build, bespoke homes.

The scheme was recommended for approval by Cheshire East planning officers in December but a final decision was deferred. This has allowed Hillcrest to engage in further consultation with local authority planners, local residents and The War Memorial Trust. It is hoped that refined plans for the development will be presented for review by The Strategic Planning Board in the spring.

Hillcrest managing director, James Payne, said: “This is a cherished landmark for Macclesfield and for us, and it has to be right. We’ve invested considerable time and care to align our vision for the development with the council’s aspirations for the future of Macclesfield and have met with, and actively listened to, the wishes of the local community, heritage groups and other stakeholders. Our refined proposals reflect this collaboration, whilst remaining faithful to our principals of high quality placemaking driven by innovation and progressive design.”

Should planning be approved in the spring, Hillcrest hopes to commence restoration and construction works before the end of the year. While planning is ongoing, Hillcrest has brought in CBRE to manage the site and a full time security team to protect the buildings and grounds.


43 Stamford New Road

The retail investment at 43 Stamford New Road, Altrincham, has been sold by Regional Property Solutions, on behalf of Mansion House Group, to a private pension fund for £243,000.

This town centre retail property, comprising 1,200 sq ft on ground and basement is let to Homme Cheshire trading as the upmarket Hanson Barber Shop, on a 10-year lease from November 2017 at a rental of £17,000 per annum, reflecting a net initial yield of 6.8%.

Daniel Lee, director, Regional Property Solutions, said: “Stamford New Road has become an increasingly favoured location, particularly with independent retailers and opportunities to acquire investments with quality tenants are rare at present.

“This was reflected in how quickly this investment was sold off-market.”


Plans for the energy centre

Plans for an energy centre in Liverpool with renewable technologies to help provide low carbon heat and hot water to residents and businesses were approved by Liverpool City Council’s planning committee yesterday (February 16).

The Peel NRE facility between Great Howard Street and Sherwood Street is expected to save around 4,200 tonnes of carbon per year, this will be achieved through the primary use of water source heat pumps and thermal stores to provide heat to Peel NRE’s Mersey Heat district heat network.

It includes plans for two 3MW water source heat pumps which would work on an ‘open loop’ system to take heat from water abstracted from the Leeds/Liverpool canal before pumping it back into the dock system.

Two thermal stores capable of holding 260 cubic metres of hot water will also be installed alongside heat only gas boilers with a combined capacity of up to 40MW as a backup, and for use during times of peak demand.

The energy centre will provide heat for up to 9,000 homes and four million sq ft of commercial space at Peel L&P’s Liverpool Waters development. It will also connect to other key developments in the area. The project is part funded by the Merseyside Pension Fund.