MIPIM | Oldham launches search for JV partner

The local authority’s town centre masterplan is to go before cabinet on Monday 26 March, formally beginning the procurement process for a partner to deliver the 21-acre project over 15 years.

Oldham Council’s director of economy and skills, Tom Stannard will address an event at the Manchester Pavilion today, highlighting the opportunity to potential investors and development partners to join the council in a 50:50 venture.

Following approval, it is expected that an OJEU notice will be issued in June 2018 with the selection of a preferred partner by autumn 2019 following a competitive dialogue process. Start on site is expected to commence immediately once a partner is chosen

The masterplan centres on significant areas of publicly-owned land containing under-utilised assets or buildings coming to the end of their economic life. The acquisition of Oldham’s former Magistrates Court was approved in February as part of the site assembly programme.

Other sites in the masterplan include Tommyfield Market, the civic centre, police station, the former sports centre and the current Oldham Coliseum theatre.

Oldham Town Centre Masterplan

Plans include 900 residential units, 77,500 sq ft of retail including a new market, a 120-bedroom hotel, a 240,000 sq ft multi-agenxcy public sector hub, 154,000 sq ft of offices and a 600-space car park.

The public sector hub is expected to be built on land including part of the former sports centre site. The civic centre, Magistrates Court and former police station site will be replaced by the hotel, office space and residential. Up to 100 homes could be built at the current Rock Street car park and its surrounds.

Market traders at Tommyfield Market will be relocated to a temporary facility while a replacement market is built on the same site and the cabinet will be asked to approve rent reductions accordingly. The market site is expected to be the first phase, followed by the civic headquarters, although with keen interest from hotel operators, that element could be brought forward at the court site first.

Stannard told Place North West this morning: “We know from our soft-testing that there’s good interest in working with us. The preparedness of the council to invest capital and covenant is attractive, as is the relative lack of site complications – there’s no three-year CPO-type lead-in.”

Jean Stretton, Oldham Council’s leader, said: “We’ve made great progress in refining our plans to bring the town centre masterplan to market.”

“We’re looking for a partner who shares our drive and ambition to make Oldham a great place to live, work and do business, and deliver on our vision for a town centre that can thrive round the clock as a place where residents want to live and spend their leisure time.”

Of the other key projects in Oldham, the council is close to appointing a new architect on the Coliseum Theatre project following Mecanoo’s departure. Standdard added that conversations are “ongoing” on the Prince’s Gate scheme, which is being reconfigured and will now include a budget hotel alongside retail.

Advisors to Oldham Council on the masterplan project are Cushman & Wakefield, Eversheds Sutherland, KPMG and masterplanner Leach Rhodes Walker.

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