Neville aiming to restore residential living to city’s only surviving Georgian street

Gary Neville has bought a building on the only surviving Georgian terraced street in central Manchester for around £1m and intends to return it to residential use.

19 St John Street, the business base of married physiotherapists Phillip and Beryl Emm since 1989, will be the second property in the street to be used for city centre living if the application is allowed, following the its sale to the former Manchester United and England footballer.

The conversion of a property back to residential is also well under way two doors down.

The Emms’ business, St John Street Physiotherapy, has already moved to smaller premises in the street as the couple look to downsize.

The four storey Grade II-listed building dating back to 1785 is in the St John Street Conservation Area and was the first property constructed on the south side of the street.

Its conversion back to residential use is being hailed as a major positive for the neighbourhood by Manchester property analysts.19 St John Street plan

St John Street is home predominantly to medical practitioners and professional businesses, like law firms.

JM Architects has designed the scheme to be project manged by Zerum Consult, which Neville has a stake in.

JM says the proposals will maintain the frontage and improve the rear of the property by adding a ground floor extension which will become a “modern insertion” to the property and will create a modern and more liveable open plan kitchen area for this high-quality family residence.

“Restoration for the existing windows will ensure that the original fabric can be preserved and where restoration is not possible, it is proposed that the new windows will match the style of the existing and be upgraded,” the design and access statement says.

“Internally the proposal seeks only minor changes to the layout, which are focused on the removal of ‘modern’ intrusions.”

Phillip Emm confirmed the building had been sold even though the new owner’s name – Neville’s – does not appear on the change of use planning application submitted to Manchester City Council.

A spokesman from Edwards & Co handling the sale, confirmed Neville was the purchaser.

It is unclear whether Neville intends to live in the property himself or sell it on once the conversion back to residential has taken place.

TheBusinessDesk has asked Neville to comment.

The proposed conversion at 19 St John Street brings into question what may happen to three nearby properties which wrap round on to Byrom Street, which are also Grade II listed.

They were owned by ECP Holdings, the parent company of Euro Car Parks, and used as the company’s Manchester base until it was relocated to London. The properties are understood to have been sold to an as yet unknown buyer.

Director Les Knight told Manchester Confidential recently: “We moved our base to London three years ago and have kept the building safe and secure but don’t want to start restoration without an end user and that’s the difficult bit.

“The building has 4,000 sq ft of space over three floors, another 1,000 sq ft if you add in the basement, but it’s a very cellular with domestic room sizes and most small to medium sized firms want 20,000 sq ft of open plan space.

“That’s why we thought we would offer it to the market for a long rent free period allowing the incoming tenant to instead invest in the structure and create something that suits them. There is quite a lot of work to do, the top floor needs taking down and the roof replacing but it is not beyond repair. We got a quote for the work which came in at £400,000, £500,000 if you include the basement.

“It is a lovely building in a great location and ready to be developed. We will probably review the position later this year and if no-one has come forward will see whether it is worth us putting our hands in our pocket and doing the work ourselves.”

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