ECF secures 125,000 sq ft spec office funding

English Cities Fund said construction of a new office building across the river from Spinningfields in the emerging New Bailey district of Salford will begin in September.

ECF agreed terms with one of its joint venture members, Legal & General Property, to invest £60m into the New Bailey area of its major Salford Central scheme to build the office building and multi-storey car park. The 615-space, nine-storey car park is pre-let to NCP on a 35-year lease and is due for completion in December 2014.

The office building has been designed by RHWL Architects and work will begin regardless of whether any occupiers have agreed pre-lets. RHWL designed 109,000 sq ft office building No.4 St Paul's Square for ECF in Liverpool, completed in 2011.

English Cities Fund is a joint venture between Muse Developments, L&G and the Homes & Communities Agency.

Salford Central will comprise two areas; New Bailey and the residential-led Chapel Street redevelopment. ECF has planning consent for 2.37m sq ft of commercial space, 849 homes and 390 hotel rooms.

Bill Hughes, managing director of Legal & General Property, said: "This is a significant investment in Salford and one that we believe will help to kick start the city's wider regeneration. We believe that ECF's plans for Salford Central will not only fundamentally reposition this city centre location, but provide much needed homes, jobs and office, retail and leisure space, as well as the improved infrastructure to support the city going forward."
He went on: "With significant volumes of patient capital under management, we believe that it is inevitable that the private sector in the form of long-term institutional investment plays a meaningful role in bringing about major regeneration and solving the UK's chronic housing shortage. As such, we have already invested over £3bn in infrastructure and housing, and are part of the insurance industry group that has pledged to invest £25b in UK infrastructure projects by 2018."

Phil Mayall, development director at ECf, commented: "Legal & General's investment in New Bailey represents a significant milestone in the evolution of our scheme. It represents a clear demonstration that New Bailey is a high quality, deliverable development and we very much look forward to welcoming occupiers to the new office building.

"Not only will the occupiers enjoy a high quality development in a fantastic location and environment; they will also benefit from the delivery of the Ordsall Chord infrastructure, which will place a sustainable transport hub, in Salford Central Station, right at the heart of the development."

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