West’s Origin and Renaissance sites up for sale

THE site of the stalled Origin development on Whitworth St and the Renaissance Hotel building on Blackfriars St in Manchester city centre have been placed on the market.

Both sites had been owned by West Properties, but are now up for sale as part of a £220m disposal of assets held by its founder, Donal Mulryan, which was sparked by the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA).

NAMA is the so-called “bad bank” set up by the Irish Government to deal with loan portfolios of the country’s banks such as the nationalised Allied Irish and Anglo Irish Banks.

TheBusinessDesk.com understands property consultancy Savills has been appointed to sell the portfolio. The firm declined to comment on the portfolio sale, and a spokesman for NAMA said it does not comment on individual loans or debtors.

A change of ownership could inject momentum into two important city centre sites where development activity has all-but ceased.

West Properties initially gained planning approval for a major mixed-use scheme on the Origin site in 2007, where it had reportedly lined up the upmarket W Hotel chain owned by Starwood group as the occupier for a 171-bed hotel.

It also had approval for 60,000 sq ft of Grade A office space, 185 apartments, 17,000 sq ft of retail and 338 parking spaces.

The company also paid £20m to acquire the Renaissance Hotel and accompanying NCP car park in 2007 and then secured outline planning in 2008 for a series of buildings including a 36-storey round tower which were due to house a 250-bed hotel, 212,000 sq ft of office space, 60,000 sq ft of retail and 248 apartments.

However, the subsequent decline in the property market and funding difficulties has meant that neither project has got off the ground.

West Properties also owns a site at Sharp St in Manchester where it had proposed another hotel close to the Co-operative’s new NOMA headquarters.

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