HS2 acquires second major Manchester site paving way for new high speed station

HS2 train design

High speed rail group HS2 has acquired Square One, on Travis Street, in Manchester, ahead of construction of the city’s new high speed railway station.

HS2 announced it had reached an agreement with Manchester property group Bruntwood to buy the land, for an undisclosed sum, next to the city’s Piccadilly rail station.

This is the second key property acquisition by HS2 in the city centre in just over a year.

In April last year it acquired a site on Store Street.

HS2 said both sites have been purchased by HS2, on behalf of the Department for Transport, and that they are pivotal to the creation of the new high speed station that will be built adjacent to the existing Piccadilly station.

Manchester’s new station is forecast to open between 2035 and 2040 and includes six platforms at surface level, allowing passengers to access both HS2 and future NPR services. The plans also include provision for a new four platform Metrolink station beneath the HS2 station.

Ruth Todd, chief commercial officer at HS2, said: “Following submission of the Bill earlier this year, seeking powers to construct and operate the railway between Crewe and Manchester, this acquisition represents another major milestone in our programme to bring high speed rail to the North.

“HS2’s purchase of Square One is a vote of confidence for investors locally and internationally to leverage the wider regeneration potential of the surrounding area, knowing that Manchester is set to become so brilliantly connected.”

Investment in the transport system would see businesses, residents and visitors benefit from a 41-minute connection to Birmingham on HS2 – a 46-minute saving – with direct services from London Euston set to more than halve, cutting one hour and 12 minutes off the current fastest journey time.

Bruntwood, who sold the Square One site to HS2, has already set out its ambition to use the proceeds to continue investing in the UK’s regional centres.

Pete Bearpark, asset management director at Bruntwood, said: “We are committed to creating thriving places and communities, and after 15 years under Bruntwood stewardship, we have agreed to the sale of Square One and the land surrounding it to HS2 in advance of a formal compulsory purchase process.

“We will use the proceeds to continue to reinvest into regional cities to drive economic growth and have a positive impact on businesses and communities.”

Early works supporting construction of the new Piccadilly high speed station are not forecast to commence until at least 2025. HS2 has agreed leasehold terms with Square One’s existing tenants to enable them to remain in situ until the site is required.