Developer Argent has withdrawn from the bidding process for the £550m Mayfield Quarter in Manchester, and will be replaced on the shortlist by U+I, formerly Development Securities.
Earlier this month Argent Related, a joint venture between Argent and US developer Related, was announced as one of the final three developers being considered to bring forward the regeneration of the 24-acre derelict site near Piccadilly station.
According to David Partridge, joint chief executive of Argent Related and managing partner of Argent, the decision “has not been made lightly” due to the company’s long-term relationship with Manchester.
He said: “While we believe that the scheme is an exciting proposition for the city, Argent Related’s immediate focus is on our pipeline projects and other future projects where we are concentrating our resources.”
In February, Argent also ended its involvement with the £1bn development at Airport City Manchester, as Partridge said the company had been unable to retain its principal development manager position.
Other companies on the Mayfield shortlist are Urban & Civic, and a consortium made up of Ask, Carillion and Patrizia.
Mayfield Partnership, made up of London & Continental Railways, Manchester City Council and Transport for Greater Manchester, opened the search for a development partner for the Mayfield Quarter in September 2015.
A longlist for the project was revealed in February, which also included Muse Developments and Goodman.
The three bidders will now enter into the third and final stage of the competitive tender process where they will continue discussions with the partnership until a preferred bidder is identified.
A development partner is due to be appointed in summer 2016.
The partnership will enter into a joint venture arrangement to take forward the comprehensive regeneration of the derelict Mayfield site which will reshape and extend the city towards Manchester Piccadilly, along the lines site out in the council’s Mayfield Strategic Regeneration Framework.
Bennetts Associates Architects advised on the framework.
Mayfield Quarter is set to create around 1,300 homes, 800,000 sq ft of offices, a 350-bedroom hotel, retail and leisure facilities and a new six-acre city park along a remediated River Medlock.
The plan for the site fits alongside Network Rail’s Northern Hub scheme which is scheduled to complete in 2018, and the proposed HS2 station at Piccadilly.
Sir Howard Bernstein, chief executive of Manchester City Council, said: “We fully understand Argent’s reasons for withdrawing from the bidding process and respect their decision to do so. With U+I now at the table, we still have three very strong teams in the running, competing to bring a world-class development to the Piccadilly area. We look forward to talks with the shortlisted bidders as we progress towards selecting a development partner to help us deliver a scheme which will make a significant contribution towards the city’s growth.”