River Street Jan 2017

Downing secures £215m funding deal

The Liverpool-based developer has won backing from Barclays, HSBC, and NatWest to deliver three major student accommodation schemes, including the SimpsonHaugh-designed River Street development in Manchester.

The deal, which has seen the banks split the funding equally to provide around £71.5m each, will help to deliver developments in Manchester, Coventry, and London, all of which are already under construction.

Downing’s Manchester development is due to complete in July 2020, with the development’s concrete cores already starting to rise. The developer purchased the site at River Street from Dastur Trading in November 2017, and secured planning permission for the scheme early last year.

This includes a building which tops out at 32 storeys and includes 807 rooms for student rent. The site next to the Mancunian Way had become infamous for hosting a six-storey concrete frame, left behind from a project that stalled during the recession. This has since been demolished to make way for Downing’s development.

George Downing Construction, the developer’s contracting arm, is delivering the River Street project.

Other projects that Downing has brought forward in Manchester include the £40m Parkway Gate development, also designed by SimpsonHaugh, then known as Ian Simpson Architects. The scheme includes 729 bedrooms across towers ranging between 17 and 13 storeys.

Simon Garnett, financial director of Downing Group, said: “This agreement offers a tangible indication of the level of confidence our portfolio inspires and will support the Group as we transition into our next phase of growth.

“Demand for high-quality student accommodation remains high and Downing Group continues to go from strength to strength, building on our market-leading portfolio, outstanding reputation, and strong presence across the UK’s leading cities.”

The other schemes supported by the finance deal are Belgrade Plaza in Coventry, due to complete in August 2019, and Miles Street in London, which completes in July 2021.

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