BBC development bidding opens

Developers have until 18 November to submit bids for the BBC site on Oxford Road, due to be vacated by the end of 2011 as staff move to Media City.

The 5.4-acre site is suitable, said LSH, for a number of uses, including offices, hotels, retail, leisure, and residential accommodation, student housing, and car parking.

The site's position in the thriving university corridor and the growth of science parks in the area suggests a similar use could be proposed for the BBC site. However, the relatively low rent from a large science park pre-let would not derive the value to attract development on its own. Nor is the option of a residential tower, so often seen in the boom, as easy to envisage now.

LSH has been advising the BBC for the past two years, on the development options for the site. Peter Skelton, strategic development director at LSH Manchester, said: "The downward shift in the property market in recent years has had a negative impact on development projects, with very few sites – particularly of this magnitude – being released for sale. While the redevelopment of BBC site is still some way off, it is vital for Manchester's future prosperity that we get it right."

"Having already identified the anticipated demand in respect of employment, housing and infrastructure, the sale represents a unique opportunity for an accomplished developer to add value to the overall regeneration of the city by identifying and delivering a blend of uses that the market wants, and that visitors, residents, local businesses and the Council alike can be proud of."

As the site is still operational any future redevelopment would not be completed until 2013/2014. LSH is seeking initial expressions of interest before moving onto best bids by 18 November, with an aim to conclude a sale in 2011.

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