First Street Hotel View

Ask buys back into First Street as part of Richardson/Patrizia JV

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Ask Real Estate, Richardson and Patrizia have announced plans to deliver up to 750,000 sq ft of offices at Manchester’s First Street, as Ask regains a stake in the 20-acre development site which it sold to Patrizia three years ago.

The joint venture, made up of 45% Ask and 45% Richardson, have acquired a 2.3-acre plot within First Street Central from Patrizia, which has retained a 10% stake. Richardson also has a 66.67% ownership of Ask Real Estate after buying out Carillion last year. Ask managing director John Hughes and finance director Jonathan Cross own the remaining 33.33%.

Ask was responsible for bringing forward First Street and delivering the early phases in partnership with Manchester City Council, before selling the scheme in its entirety to German investor Patrizia in 2015 and keeping a development manager role. The site includes the completed first phase to the North, made up of the HOME arts centre, the Melia Innside hotel, a 279-room Vita luxury student accommodation scheme, and a 700-space Q-Park multi-storey car park.

The 170,000 sq ft No8 First Street is currently under construction, and once complete joins the 180,000 sq ft No1 as the first buildings to be built within the commercially-led First Street Central, while First Street South which borders the Mancunian Way roundabout is earmarked for residential development.

Ask, Richardson and Patrizia’s 2.3-acre site is currently hoarded off, and is used for parking and a site office for No8 First Street. A planning application is expected by the middle of the year, outlining the potential for up to 750,000 sq ft of offices, across two to four buildings. A detailed application would be included for one building to allow it to be brought forward first. The scheme is estimated to have an overall development value of £350m.

First Street has already courted high-profile occupiers such as the Government Property Unit, which had been looking for a site to deliver up to 700,000 sq ft of offices before deciding to take space at English Cities Fund’s New Bailey, and is understood to be in talks with Amazon to take space within No8, alongside engineering company Gazprom.

Savills and GVA advise on First Street office lettings.

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What have Patrizia been doing all this time? They’re a prominent developer but on First Street they’ve done nothing. I know office isn’t always straightforward but surely the PRS element should’ve started by now.

By York Street

Masterplan for the overall site available?

By Town Planner