Two towers of 50 and 30 storeys could form part of Salford’s £700m Middlewood Locks regeneration, according to Kevin McCabe, chairman of the developer behind the scheme.
The Scarborough boss told Place North West that the final residential phase of the development could include two large-scale residential towers, but warned that plans would only go ahead “if the market stays with us”.
“It’s no good having success and building what we’re building here, then getting the timing wrong on something at the end,” he said.
“You can sometimes get too affected by the glamour of a big tower, but get it wrong and it affects everybody’s view of what you’ve already created. Experience tells us to sit, and wait, and study; don’t necessarily listen to agents because they just sell. Developers build.”
The two towers would be situated at a “gateway” site between Middlewood Locks and Manchester city centre, he added, likely on land close to the River Irwell just off Trinity Way.
The wider Middlewood Locks project is being developed across a number of phases, with the first residential phase already on site. The second residential phase will feature 546 homes, 900,000 sq ft of commercial space, including offices, a hotel, and cinema.
Outline planning permission for the scheme was granted in March 2015.
The developer is FairBriar International, a joint venture led by Scarborough International Properties with a 50% stake, Metro Holdings of Singapore and Hualing Group of China each holding 25% stakes.
McCabe was speaking at the topping out of Middlewood Locks’ first phase, which includes 570 apartments across six buildings, by contractor BCEGI. Around 110 of the first phase apartments have already been sold, ahead of the handover of the first homes in April next year.
McCabe said Scarborough was looking to start the first phase of the commercial development in 2018, with the developer looking to partner with a “four-star plus” operator on the hotel element, and added that a five-star operator could be an option.
BCEGI is also set to take on the second phase of the development, which McCabe said would start towards the end of the first quarter next year.
The second phase received £25.5m of residential development finance from the Homes & Communities Agency’s Home Building Fund earlier this month, to help get the next part of the development underway.
An additional £9.2m of HCA funding has also been secured towards infrastructure and enabling works for the rest of the site.
“[BCEGI] can produce the product on time, on cost, and with the minimum of fuss, and they will be our partner here for a long time,” said McCabe.
When asked about further projects with BCEGI, McCabe said he was “looking to take BCEGI over the border” into Yorkshire and that Scarborough was eyeing up another site in Manchester with the contractor.
A Scarborough/BCEGI JV is also one of three shortlisted as development partner for Wirral Council’s £1bn waterfront regeneration plan, alongside Muse with Morgan Sindall, and Ion with Keepmoat. If successful, this would be BCEGI’s first project outside Greater Manchester.