Property briefs: PlaceFirst; Muse; Urbanbubble; Victus

X The Business Desk

Register for free to receive latest news stories direct to your inbox


RESIDENTIAL property manager Urbanbubble has taken on an extra 640 properties across four buildings.

The latest deals take the firm’s total to 5,000 and cover three in Manchester – Dale Street apartments, Nuovo Apartments in Great Ancoats Street, and The Point, New Islington, and Centenary Mill, Preston.

Dale Street and Centenary Mill were awarded under Right to Manage regulations which give leaseholders the power to hire a new managing agent to replace one that was put in place by the developer, or the block’s owner.

Urbanbubble was appointed to the other two blocks by landlords UK Land and Property and McCauls.

Managing director Mick Howard said: “We’ve made terrific progress so far this year and I am very pleased to confirm appointments

to four different developments this month. I am especially pleased with the balance we have between apartment owner driven

appointments from Resident Management Companies (RMC) and direct developer instructions. We’re involved in several tenders for new

residential developments across the North West and we’re excited about our future as the region gets building again.”


DEVELOPER PlaceFirst is embarking on its first commercial property scheme after acquiring Ashton Baths in Tameside.

PlaceFirst has bought the Henry Square site, also known as Hugh Mason House, from Ask Developments which had drawn up plans for a business hub and secured cash from Tameside Council and the European Regional Development Fund.

Manchester-based PlaceFirst, which has a number of residential schemes, is now working on a Heritage Lottery funding bid and hopes to start work in October for completion next summer.

The baths were built in 1870 and used until the 1970s. The listed building is now on on English Heritage’s “at risk register”.

PlaceFirst wants to turn it into 6,500 sq ft of business space which will be run by a charitable organisation made up of political and business leaders. It says profits will be reinvested into the operation of the building.

Managing director David Smith-Milne said: “Ashton (Old) Baths is such an iconic building and we are thrilled to be working on such an exciting project. It will offer a unique working environment, providing the flexibility new businesses need and will be supported by some of the most powerful broadband connections in the country.”


MUSE Developments has topped out at the sixth phase of its Smithfield residential scheme in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

Representatives from contractor Galliford Try, GRE Assets, Manchester City Council and Ryder Architects joined Muse to mark the occasion.

The 10-storey building, known as One Smithfield Square, has 77 one, two and three bedroom apartments and 6,000 sq ft of ground floor commercial space.

All of the apartments were forward sold to GRE in an investment deal in December 2013. It is due to be completed in October.


The Victus European Student Accommodation Fund has acquired two buildings in Chambery, France.

The fund, which is associated with the Manchester developer Crosslane, has bought the buildings, which have 144 apartments, from a company called CBB.

Victus said France is an attractive market because 75% of the student market is not catered for with private or public accommodation.

Chairman Andrew Henton said: “These acquisitions in France mark a significant breakthrough into a new and significant European student market. The Fund looks forward to further French acquisitions.”

The purpose-built buildings are fully let and will be refurbished over the next couple of years.