Muse pips Orbit to Grand Central

Muse Developments has added Stockport to its growing list of major development locations that now includes Chester, Warrington, Blackpool, Manchester and Salford.

Muse beat Emerson subsidiary Orbit to the £140m Grand Central development opportunity with Stockport Council. A report will be presented to Stockport Council's executive on Friday 16 December recommending that Muse Developments be appointed as preferred development partner for the regeneration of the site.

The architect in the winning bid was RHWL, with whom Muse previously worked to deliver St Paul's Square in Liverpool through its English Cities Fund joint venture.

The Grand Central design envisages around 400,000 sq ft of offices in half-a-dozen buildings plus hotel and multi-storey car park.

Stockport Council bought the 10.4 acre site in January this year for £15m from Deloitte, administrator of Targetfollow Property Holdings, a subsidiary of Targetfollow Group.

Matt Crompton, joint managing director of Muse, said: "Grand Central is a true example of Muse's approach to development – which is based firmly on the principle of working in partnership with visionary authorities, unlocking the potential of strategically located landmark sites."

Cllr Dave Goddard, Liberal Democrat leader of Stockport Council, said: "We have been through a rigorous, fair and transparent process. The bids from Orbit and Muse both had great merits and I am grateful to both for their work on the submissions. The recommendation to the council's executive is that Muse be appointed as the council's proposed development partner for this key town centre regeneration scheme, and I believe this will receive strong support from across the council."

DTZ advises the council. Ken Bishop, director of DTZ, added: "Following the Competitive Dialogue process we were privileged to have two extremely good proposals from Muse and Orbit. This did, however, make the selection of the preferred developer very close but, despite the undoubted merits of Orbit's scheme, it was concluded that Muse edged the selection due to the overall quality of their scheme."

This year has also seen Cheshire West & Chester Council and Warrington Council appoint Muse on town centre developments. Muse is also active on Salford Central and Talbot Gateway in Blackpool, although a development at Manchester Victoria station is yet to come forward.

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