Crusader Mill CC p.Font Comms

The development was designed by shedkm. Credit: via Font Comms

Capital&Centric’s Crusader woes ‘worth it’ 

After numerous delays, the 126-home mill conversion in Manchester’s emerging Piccadilly East district is complete. The developer that delivered it says the sleepless nights during construction were a small price to pay for the end result. 

“It has taken a lot longer to build than we wanted,” said Adam Higgins, co-founder of Capital&Centric. “It has probably been one of the hardest projects that we’ve done.” 

The developer won planning consent for the Shedkm-designed project in 2016. The conversion of the former mill on Chapeltown Street began in earnest in early 2018. 

In 2019, contractors found that much of the timber within the old building was not usable, setting the project back. 

The discovery of this nasty surprise was aired to the nation on the BBC documentary Manctopia, along with footage of several frosty meetings with would-be residents. 

The delays to the Crusader project meant that many people who had reserved apartments were left waiting years to get their keys. The first flats, available exclusively to owner-occupiers, were put up for sale in 2017.

Higgins said he was “disappointed” about that but insists the delays were unavoidable. 

“There’s nothing we can do, we’ve still got to go through the building [process],” he said.

“We’ve got to make it safe and it’s got to be fire compliant. We can’t take any shortcuts, we have to finish it properly.” 

One thing Higgins would do differently with the benefit of hindsight is hold off on launching the flats for sale. 

“I think we should have held our nerve and marketed it later than we did. Because it meant that some of the people who reserved early were waiting around for a long time before they could move in.” 

Then the pandemic hit, causing further delays as a workforce of 90 was cut down to 30 in line with government guidelines. 

This impacted the project and also the contractor. Artez went bust in October 2021 leaving the already-delayed project further behind schedule. 

Now , more than five years after the first properties were sold, Crusader is now complete. 

Crusader Mill CC p.Font Comms

The scheme has not put Higgins off mill conversions. Credit: via Font Comms

Only a handful of flats, which are set around a landscaped central courtyard Higgins describes as “a little secret oasis”, are still up for grabs. 

“I think it was worth it in the end,” Higgins said. “I think it’s probably the best kind of non-build-to-rent scheme in Manchester, to be honest.” 

You might have thought that the stress of delivering a complex mill conversion through an uncertain time and having to placate angry residents may have put the developer off pursuing this kind of scheme in future. You would be wrong. 

While Higgins concedes schemes like Crusader are “more complicated and more costly to do”, he believes the pay-off is worth the pain. 

“I still think it’s worth it because we’re saving important parts of Manchester,” Higgins said. “Buildings like this, unless they get converted into a new use, eventually fall down a collapse. 

“When you finish it, you create something that almost can never be replicated in a new build.” 

Crusader may be finished but Capital&Centric now has its hands full with a similar project. 

Work to transform two historic buildings at Weir Mill in Stockport into homes is in the early stages. 

The local council, which is funding the Weir Mill project, will be praying that the problems that plagued Crusader do not rear their heads in Stockport. 

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I don’t think the buyers feel the same waiting for delayed completion and suffering from the financial impacts

By Anonymous

Fair play to capital and centric for preserving these historic buildings. And selling them to owner occupiers creating more of a community than this build to rent stuff

By Tim

Really good scheme.

Buyers know the risks when placing their deposits.


Anon… financial impacts? The longer they waited to complete, the more value a purchaser will have benefitted from given pricing growth over the last 4 years. Awesome scheme… Piccadilly East is shaping up really well and credit where credit is due, delivering these types of buildings is super difficult.

By John W

If conservation architects are hired, little surprises like timber decay etc are usually minimized.

By John Fidler

Really impressed by the outcome. Getting these massive old conversions done is financially really challenging. Just look at the London Rd Fire station or Littlewoods building in Liverpool. A lot of developers would just knock ‘em down if they could and then we’d all regret it.

By Anonymous

Please fact check your articles as the Crusader building by Capital and Centric (C&C) is NOT completed. It has still not been handed over to the property management company and handover has been delayed since the beginning of 2022. There are still contractors onsite employed by C&C and it is deemed as a ‘live building site’ by C&C. This article is factually incorrect and misleading to the general public.

By Molly

    Hi Molly. We have reached out to C&C regarding your comment and the points you have raised. We will update you on their response.

    By Julia Hatmaker

    From C&C: “The site is not a live construction site, all the apartments are now finished and liveable, with people already living in over 100 apartments. The final build contractors have already left site. Any workers people see are part of the aftercare team who are there to resolve any remaining snags as is normal. They will be on and off site during the builder’s warranty period which is the same as you’d experience with any new development. As is always the case the handover to the management company will take place once the final few homes have sold. Over the last few years Capital&Centric have completed a number of schemes including Leonardo Hotel, Tempest, Bunker, Kampus, Phoenix, and Foundry.”

    By Julia Hatmaker

It’s absolutely splendid. Especially dealing with so many snags.

By Doer David

I have called this place home for the past year and feel so lucky to live in such a beautiful historic building. Far superior to the shiny glass box’s being thrown up around Manchester. There was nothing like it on the market when I bought.
Not sure on the comment on the building not being complete. All that’s left is minor snagging works, which is to be expected on any new development.
Credit to Capital & Centric for sticking with it despite the challenges. More support should be given to developers to save these buildings.

By Anonymous

Wonderful. It’s been a long journey since the tour in hardhats around the what was a derelict building, but it’s come together beautifully. The best thing about the building are the residents – it’s the first time I’ve lived somewhere where people are having dinner at each others homes, meeting up at the pub, and in the courtyard.

By Moysey

Great to see one Manchester’s finest mills converted into homes. But some of the virtue signalling from the developer at the beginning, does leave a bad taste.

Claiming these would be sold only to owner occupiers, when their one of the biggest built to rent developers in the city. Is a bit problematic… especially when these properties are still available to rent on Rightmove anyway.

Selling a property 4-5 years before completion, just doesn’t work. Investors de-risk sites, provide rental opportunities and owner occupier homes at completion.

By DeveloperInsider

The end result looks fantastic and Im sure C&C have learnt allot from this project so hopefully Wier Mill will be a smoother project for them. Mill conversions continue to make stunning living spaces. There are many Mills in other large towns that would benefit from residential conversions like this.

By Jon P

Please note Capital and Centric have not confirmed that the building has still not been handed over to the property management company and the communal areas remain unfinished. Also, if this is not a ‘live site’ they should remove the signs in Crusader that say ‘this is a live building site’. Thus, it is not completed.

By Molly

I find it ironic that Place North West gets a prompt response from Capital & Centric within 24 hours of this article, yet residents have been constantly ignored over the last 18 months from the developers and many of us have a number of non minor snag issues which the refuse to sort out and simply ignore.

By Kim Peatley

Learning from this article that the Mill I live in is complete is just the cherry on top for the appalling comms Capital and Centric seem to go for.

If this is the finished building I am saddened. The post room is still a dumping ground for parcels with no racks/organisation system, specifications are missing (such as fob entry lifts) and the site still has not been cleaned of all the dust created by the building work.

I love my community and that it was the building that brought us all together, but I cannot sit by when articles like this are posted.

By Anonymous

Fix our snags.

By Truth will out

This is the 4th apartment complex I have lived in, in the city centre, and it is by far the best one yet. Dont be fooled of these negative comments. Every one has different experiences of buying and I can assure you, the majority of owners in the development are exceptionally happy with the service they have received from C&C. The development is architecturally beautiful. It is a shame these negative comments have to be made public are they are not a true representation of 90% of the current owners.

By Anonymous

When Capital & Centric ignore, and in some cases gaslight neighbours, they should expect for comments to be made public. I don’t think anyone above has said anything that takes away from how much they love the physical building, it’s more frustration at Capital & Centric for the lack of communication and poor service. When this is likely the most expensive purchase of their lives, what was promised should be delivered.

By Anonymous

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