Property round-up: MOAF; Calderpeel Architects; SGI; Blackpool Holiday Inn; Countryside Partnerships; Tower D2; Stockport Exchange; FEC

The St Michael's scheme

The Manchester city centre office market has reported significant activity in Q3 2023, with take-up more than doubling to 351,063 sq ft compared with the previous quarter.

Manchester city centre saw a substantial uptake in office space, reaching 351,063 sq ft for Q3 2023, compared with 179,073 sq ft in the previous quarter. A total of 59 deals were completed with highlights including Arden University acquiring 42,944 sq ft at 2 Hardman Street, UA92 signed up for 36,751 sq ft at Bruntwood’s Riverside, and Cubo leased 30,829 sq ft across two floors at The Lincoln.

Quarter three also saw Manchester reach record headline rents in the city centre with Relentless Development’s pre lets to Pinsent Masons and Hill Dickinson at No.1 St Michael achieving £43 per sq ft.

“Grade A space continues to let well, especially as supply of quality space is diminished in the city centre,” said Rosie Veitch, from Sixteen Real Estate.

“The take-up we’ve seen over the last three months is hugely positive, and we expect this level of level of activity to continue as we look ahead to the final quarter. The region is poised for a strong finish to the year, and we are confident take up will again surpass 1m sq ft for the year.”

In South Manchester, activity has also seen an increase compared with previous quarters, indicating sustained interest in office space in this sub-market. The figures show that take-up has risen to 180,987 sq ft, compared with 146,806 sq ft in Q2 2023, and surpassing Q1 2023, which recorded a total of 135,056 sq ft.

Conor Walmsley, from Colliers’ national offices team, said: “This growth is driven by the ongoing appeal of town centre locations as well as office developments that have curated a vibrant workplace environment through the offer of quality on-site amenity. This goes a long way in helping occupiers to attract and retain talent, whilst remaining easily accessible and is obtainable at a cost-effective rate.

“Towers, in Didsbury, is an excellent example, as it has attracted a multitude of sizeable lettings in the last 12 months, including 14,948 sq ft to software company Conferma Pay, following considerable investment to provide quality office space and a defined focus on wellbeing and events on site.”

Rosie Veitch added: “The pre lets achieved at St Michaels set a new precedent for Grade A office space in Manchester and serves as testament to the city’s resilient commercial landscape. Supply of Grade A space continues to be depleted and this makes for an interesting supply-demand dynamic as occupiers continue to favour high quality, sustainable office space in prime locations.”

MOAF was formed in 2009, and members include Avison Young, BE Group, CBRE, Colliers , Canning O’Neill, Cushman & Wakefield, Edwards & Co, Hallams Property Consultants, JLL, Knight Frank, LSH, Matthews & Goodman, OBI, Savills, TSG Property Consultants, and Sixteen.


From left: Ewen Miller, Andy Lightfoot, Mark Massey

Altrincham-based Calderpeel Architects has undergone a management buyout, for an undisclosed sum, with the existing management team assuming responsibility from practice founder, Harry Calder.

Mark Massey, Ewen Miller and Andy Lightfoot have taken control of the RIBA-Chartered practice renowned for projects such as Salboy’s ongoing residential scheme at Castle Irwell in Salford.

The practice delivers a wide range of projects across several sectors but is best known for its work in the high end and complex residential markets.

Ewen Miller, managing partner, said: “Harry established the business over 30 years ago and has worked hard with ourselves over the last 20 to develop the business to where it is today.

“We are a very tight-knit and connected team committed to continuing this development, supporting our fantastic past and existing clients whilst simultaneously building on our strong legacy. The structural ownership of the practice may have changed, but Harry will continue to play a key role.”

He added: “Undoubtedly there will be a continued change in practice culture that we have been driving for the last few years which looks to move the practice forward by nurturing our staff, enabling the next generation of designers and working closely with like minded professionals to create opportunities.

“This also includes the exciting appointment of Lucy Lomas as a non-executive director who will be instrumental in assisting us in evolving our strategic vision for the future.”


Kevin McCabe

Scarborough Group International (SGI) said its Manchester office will be relocating to 11 York Street in the heart of Manchester’s central business district from November 1, 2023.

The family-owned property regeneration and placemaking specialist is moving from its current home at 125 Deansgate to Gilbanks, as part of its continued growth strategy which will see it accelerate the pace of its development projects across the UK. Set in an ultra-prime location, Gilbanks provides exceptional workspaces meticulously designed to facilitate productivity and help professional communities thrive.

Only last month, SGI announced it had reached a major milestone at its £1bn Middlewood Locks project in Salford as it celebrated a topping out ceremony at the Railings, where 189 new residential apartments and townhouses are being built.

The developer, which has delivered almost nine million sq ft of commercial space and 3,800 residential units across the UK over the past six decades, has a further 3.9 million+ sq ft and 1.6k units in the pipeline including major schemes at Thorpe Park in Leeds, Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, Queensferry One in Rosyth and Brunswick in Scarborough.

As well as contemporary, new workspace with strong ESG credentials, SGI’s colleagues will also have access to various event spaces, including a sky suite on the eighth floor for events providing stunning views across the city.

Paul Kelly, group development director at SGI and head of the Manchester office, said: “Our office relocation to 11 York Street demonstrates our continued commitment to our people and our business, providing a fantastic environment in which to foster collaboration, innovation and colleague wellbeing.”

SGI chairman, Kevin McCabe, said: “While we’re by no means immune to the effects of the ongoing challenging economic conditions, our business is built on strong foundations stretching back over six decades. Not only that, we’re privileged to be spearheading some of the UK’s most transformational and enviable regeneration projects that will stimulate economic growth and help to attract sustainable, long term investment.”

Alex Duckett, managing director of Gilbanks, said: “Gilbanks is building an exemplary business community at 11 York Street. The office’s environmental credentials, fantastic location in the heart of Manchester and leading-edge technology continue to attract best-in-class companies like SGI.”


New images show the first completed rooms inside the Blackpool Holiday Inn hotel.

The four-star Holiday Inn is set to open in spring 2024 and is currently being constructed as part of the town’s £350m Talbot Gateway development next to Blackpool North train station.

The four storey, 144-room, hotel will open alongside a Marco Pierre White New York Italian restaurant on the ground floor and will include business conferencing facilities and a fitness centre for guests.

An extension to Blackpool tramway, which will connect the Talbot Gateway and train station directly with Blackpool Promenade, is also being constructed as part of the development, alongside an underpass allowing pedestrians to access the hotel and tramway directly from the station. Five additional retail units have been constructed underneath the hotel and are available for lease.

Cllr Mark Smith, cabinet member for levelling up (place) at Blackpool Council, said: “We’re excited for the new Holiday Inn to open in time for the tourist season next year and it’s great to see the first few rooms complete. The Talbot Gateway Central Business District regeneration is a key part of our plans to make Blackpool better, creating more jobs and opportunities for local people, but also increasing footfall and spend into local businesses and into the town centre.”

The Holiday Inn will be operated by RBH Hospitality Management, with experienced general manager, Mark Winter, overseeing the launch and early running of the hotel, which will create 80 jobs, from managerial positions through to front of house and housekeeping staff, with recruitment starting shortly.

Mark Winter said: “This is a milestone development in an incredibly exciting project. Seeing the rooms take shape really helps bring the vision we have for this hotel to life and will be key to our rigorous recruitment campaign as we seek to build a diverse and experienced hotel team.”

The hotel is being developed by Muse in partnership with Blackpool Council. Alan McBride, technical director at Muse, said: “This latest milestone regarding the Holiday Inn’s construction signifies another important landmark in the regeneration of Talbot Gateway, and draws into focus the positive impact this project will deliver for the town.”


Plans for Barden Lane

Plans for 73 new affordable homes on Barden Lane in Burnley have been approved.

Countryside Partnerships, the mixed-tenure developer, is working in partnership with housing provider, Together Housing, to deliver the new development, with work due to start on site next month.

Barden Lane is the third project under way between the two partners – 165 homes are being built in Blackburn, with 235 new homes under construction in Sandymoor.

Gemma Hardy, managing director of Countryside Partnerships Merseyside & Cheshire West, said: “Both of our organisations are committed to providing quality, affordable homes across the North West, and Barden Lane builds on our projects already under way in Blackburn and Sandymoor. We’re transforming this area of brownfield land into a quality new place to live and providing genuine opportunities for people living in the area to own a new, affordable home.”

Antony Ward, director of development for Together Housing, said: “We’re excited to break ground on a new development to serve the Burnley community in collaboration with Countryside Partnerships.

“Our commitment to developing quality new homes both for shared ownership and affordable rent will provide a vast number of opportunities for people to find a home that suits their needs the most. We’re eager to work with Countryside Partnerships and further develop our strategic collaboration to complete this impressive development.”


Tower D2

Work progresses on what will be one of Manchester’s tallest buildings as the above ground works take shape on the major 55-storey Tower D2 at Trinity Island scheme.

Having secured funding to support the progress, the concrete frame has now started to rise above ground level, signifying the start of the superstructure phase.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority appointed national real estate consultancy, Naismiths, to provide project monitoring services for the scheme. Naismiths and GMCA have worked together on several occasions but it’s the first time Naismiths has worked with developer Renaker.

Once completed, the tower will boast 483 apartments, commercial opportunities and extensive amenity provision including a landscaped outdoor area opening up a public footpath, which will serve to improve pedestrian accessibility in the area.

John Crompton, associate director of project monitoring at Naismiths, said: “The concrete frame currently being constructed will continue to expand vertically until the structure becomes one of the tallest buildings on the Manchester skyline – something our team will be proud to have played a role in helping to achieve.”

Tower D2 at Trinity Island will be one of four towers that will be constructed in the city as part of an overall development known as Vista River Gardens. Enabling works started in 2022 followed by formation of the basement levels. The concrete core and frame rising above ground marks a significant step for the project, which is on track to complete in 2026.


Cllr Colin MacAlister, left, and Tom Webber

A new tenant car park has opened at Stockport Exchange, which supports the council’s Green Print for the future of the borough, as part of its aim to tackle climate change.

Office occupiers will benefit from an innovative 398-space multi-storey car park featuring 24 electric vehicle charging points and 20 accessible spaces over five floors.

A stunning green ‘living wall’ covering an area of 268 sq m forms the focal point of the car park, delivering significant new biodiversity. A total of 13 plant species have been used, including native and pollinators designed to allow root migration meaning plants are healthier and have a longer life span.

Further green credentials include 172 solar panels which will generate an estimated 72,000 KwH/of electricity per year making a long lasting contribution to reducing the council’s carbon footprint. The solar panels capture energy from the sun which is converted it into electricity using photovoltaic technology. Stockport Exchange is now in its third phase, with a high quality 64,000 sq ft office building currently under construction and due for completion next year.

The opening of the car park comes off the back of Stockport Council’s recent announcement about their Green Print plans for the future of the borough as part of its aim to tackle climate change.

Cllr Colin MacAlister, cabinet member for economy and regeneration at Stockport Council, said: “Stockport Exchange has attracted a diverse range of businesses across a wide variety of sectors and it’s great news that they will now be able to take advantage of this new addition to the site.”

Tom Webber, senior development manager at Muse, said: “Sustainability and wellbeing are two of the core principles behind Stockport Exchange, and the new tenant car park demonstrates our commitment to delivering an environmentally conscious development in line with Stockport Council’s plans to make the town greener and cleaner.”


Victoria Riverside

Far East Consortium (FEC), the developer behind Manchester’s Victoria North regeneration project, has launched its Bromley Street development, the latest phase of new residences at the gateway to the Red Bank neighbourhood.

The unique and reinvented terrace street will offer a selection of 38 bespoke two- and three-bedroom properties. The mix of triple height townhouses and duplex apartments will have access to state-of-the-art facilities, including a residents’ lounge, dining and bar area, as well as a gym and fitness suite.

The development will return Bromley Street to an activated route. In addition to private terraces and balconies featuring in many of the properties, the homes on Bromley Street have access to the extensive landscape podium gardens, including an outdoor working area, and are within a short walk of FEC’s Meadowside development and the city centre.

Bromley Street joins the landmark 37-storey Crown View, Park View (26 storeys) and City View (18 storeys), within the Victoria Riverside scheme which is set to create 634 high quality homes of which 128 will be available on an affordable basis through a combination of shared ownership and rent to buy.

Victoria Riverside is one of the first developments being brought forward by FEC as part of Victoria North – a new residential district that will create 15,000 new homes over the next decade.

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