Work on Gary Neville’s St Michael’s scheme set to start in early January

The St Michael's scheme
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Relentless Developments today (December 21), announced that works will start on site at the much-anticipated St Michael’s development in the heart of Manchester in early January 2022, with expected completion in 2024.

The news comes 14 years after the project first emerged.

The £200m St Michael’s development is a joint venture project with New York-based KKR, a global investment firm, announced in July 2021.

Contractor Bowmer & Kirkland (B&K) will deliver the £120m first phase of the scheme, which comprises 185,000 sq ft of prime Grade A office accommodation across nine floors, a new public realm and an impressive rooftop restaurant with views across Manchester which can accommodate 900 guests.

The joint venture combines Relentless’s local knowledge and operational expertise with KKR’s capital and resources to deliver a best-in-class office space and new public realm for the city.

The development team at Relentless will deliver one of Manchester’s most sought after mixed-use developments, bringing £120m of investment into the city and creating circa 1,800 jobs through Phase 1.

The office building has an unrivalled location, situated right in the core of Manchester’s bustling commercial city centre.

Tenants will benefit from dedicated roof space, private terraces, and meeting and presentation space. They will also have access to increased cycle storage, and enhanced changing and showering facilities.

The new public space, St Michael’s Square, is set to be a hub of music, food, drink, and entertainment, with the rooftop offering impressive views overlooking the Grade I-listed Manchester Town Hall and Manchester Library.

Interiors for the scheme have been designed in collaboration with world class designers, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) to complement the high quality external design of the building.

Alongside its prime location, design and amenities, the building will deliver on key market leading sustainability objectives providing a building that is BREEAM Outstanding, WELL Platinum and NABERS 5 star, a key performance metric moving forward in measuring the energy performance of buildings.

St Michael’s Square

Gary Neville, of Relentless, said: “This is such an important project for Manchester. We are really pleased to be announcing the start on site in what is another major step forward for this legacy scheme. The aim is to deliver a world class development for our city and the UK.

“Our team has worked tirelessly with our joint venture partner KKR, along with contractor B&K and Manchester City Council, and it is the dedication of these teams that has enabled the first phase to come to fruition in the new year.”

Nicky Barker, head of European real estate asset management at KKR, said: “We are excited that work will begin imminently on this unique regeneration project in Manchester. Our investment underscores our conviction in investing in best-in-class and highly sustainable office projects, working closely with expert local developers.”

Anthony Kilbride, of Relentless, said: “This is a huge moment for us and this landmark scheme. The team has worked extremely hard to get us to this stage and we are very excited to be starting on site.

“B&K has an impressive track record in delivering Grade A office space and we have every confidence as delivery partner. Our aim is to create the best office space in Manchester, a sustainable building, that will support the health and wellbeing of its occupiers both now and into the future. We are really pleased to have the team on board and ready to start on site in the new year.”

The development has the full support of Manchester City Council.

Bev Craig, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “This is momentous news for the St Michael’s project.

“This development will be transformational for the Jackson Row area and confirmation that a start on site is imminent is very welcome.

“High quality and sustainable investment such as this is the type of development we should be pitching for as the city navigates its way through recovery from the pandemic.”

Joanne Roney, Manchester City Council chief executive, said: “St Michael’s has been a hugely complex development to bring forward and it’s testament to the strength of partnership working in our city that we can deliver programmes of regeneration with this level of ambition. The Jackson’s Row area has a huge amount of potential and it’s great to see this being realised.”

St Michael’s lobby

In September this year plans for a five star 29-room boutique hotel on the site of the former Bootle Street police station were dropped from the St Michael’s scheme when new planning documents were filed with Manchester City Council, on the grounds that delivering a hotel in a “post-pandemic economy” presented “challenges”.

Offices will now replace the proposed boutique hotel, and anther proposed hotel, a 191-bedroom 39-storey skyscraper, remains in the proposals.

The BusinessDesk.com asked Gary Neville whether more changes to the project are likely, given the economic climate and ongoing pandemic.

He said: “No more changes are planned at this time. We changed the boutique hotel and we are kicking ourselves a little bit.

“It was actually when we first entered into design discussions with our team and with KKR it just really made sense for us to connect the Southmill Street entrance right the way through.

“We have got an entrance on Southmill Street, we have got an entrance off St Michaels Square, and they do connect together and it fits really well and brings the old building back to life and connects into the new building.

“It just seemed like a natural change, and I think when you see the plans and the visuals you will realise that we have done the right thing in not keeping them as a separate hotel and a commercial block.

“In respect of the other side, phase two, there is no volume changes, there’s no design changes to the facade. There may be few movements of residential units up and down, but there will be no major principal changes. We’re not planning that at this time.”

He added: “This is bringing an important part of Manchester back to life.”

OBI are office agents on the scheme.

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