Argent wins contest to transform Elisabeth House

Argent has landed its third major office scheme in Manchester city centre after being selected to redevelop the eyesore Elisabeth House site by Greater Manchester Property Venture Fund.

Argent beat Miller Developments in the final round of the contest after Development Securities and Standard Life had already been eliminated. The coveted development opportunity, facing St Peter's Square, will follow Argent's successes at Piccadilly Gardens and Piccadilly Place.

The fund will meet in March to ratify the choice and start to move forwards with a detailed planning application.

Nick Whipp, senior development partner at GVA Grimley, advisers to GMPVF, said: "This will be a landmark decision for the core of Manchester and is another sign of the vital regeneration of the central area. Subject to planning, a building in excess of 350,000 sq ft could be located on the site giving floorplates upwards of 25,000 sq ft in what is now regarded as the prime core of the city.

"The building will fall in with regeneration of the square and the important civic buildings of the Town Hall and Library. The fund recognised the very high level of commitment from the short-listed parties, which underlines the importance and quality of this proposed development. It is envisaged that the building will be available by 2011."

The fund recently completed the sale of the Deva Centre for price in excess of £20m and started development of Kings Point in Oldham, a 35,000 sq ft office in the town due for completion in 2009.

Argent was many people's favourite to get the site, given its strong track record with GVA, which advised on both Piccadilly schemes as well.

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