Ex-West Properties’ sites attract London developer

London-based developer Urban & Civic has confirmed that it is bidding for two former West Properties' Manchester development sites.

Urban & Civic is understood to be close to agreeing a deal for the Origin site on the corner of Whitworth Street and Princess Street, and the Renaissance hotel on Blackfriars Street and Deansgate.

The projects would be Urban & Civic's first in the region. The company is directed by Nigel Hugill and Robin Butler, who formerly owned Crosby Homes before its acquisition by Lend Lease in 2005. A spokesman for Urban & Civic said that the company had made a bid, but was unable to confirm if it had exclusivity on the sites.

The two plots are part of a portfolio of sites previously owned by developer Donal Mulryan's company West Properties, which were bought by Morgan Stanley in 2011 as part of the disposal of £216m of Mulryan's assets by the Irish Government's National Asset Management Agency.

The other site in the portfolio is a former car park site on Owen Street near Beetham Tower, which is understood to be under offer to Daren Whitaker's Renaker Build.

Both Owen Street and Origin had planning permission for developments designed by Ian Simpson Architects. Owen Street was to feature five towers of between 13 and 49 storeys, with 1,094 apartments, 100 serviced apartments, a hotel and a 36,000 sq ft gym.

At Origin, which was the former site of the Palazzo Warehouse buildings, the scheme was to include a seven-storey 62,000 sq ft office, 180 apartments, a boutique hotel, and a range of shops and cafes.

West acquired the Renaissance hotel for £20m in 2007 and secured planning permission in 2008 for a 250-bed hotel, 212,000 sq ft office, 60,000 sq ft of retail and 248 apartments.

JLL is marketing the sites on behalf of Morgan Stanley Real Estate. All parties declined to comment further.

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