Beech Holdings has completed the conversion of vacant office space above Pret A Manger on Cross Street in central Manchester into 27 apartments, fully let off plan, under a permitted development rights scheme.
Beech turned four floors containing 7,000 sq ft at 25 Cross Street into studio, one- and two-bedroom starter homes aimed at the growing market for graduates starting their first jobs in the city. The average apartment space is 270 sq ft, with the largest 431 sq ft for a two-bed. Rents start at £155/week bills included, or £660 a month, undercutting the usual city centre rental market for well-located apartments and offering an alternative to the traditional shared home option of living in Didsbury and Chorlton after finishing university. Beech employs eco-friendly and space-saving design features to maximise the potential of the small apartments, typically below the ideal size Manchester City Council would like to see but under PDR rules no planning applications are necessary to carry out the refurbishment. The government introduced PDR for office-to-residential conversions to encourage delivery of new housing in vacant office buildings.
Underfloor heating, removing the need for radiators, centralised communal boilers, lift-up beds, tall narrow wardrobes and a shared laundry room on each floor are some of the techniques used in Beech’s model.
Stephen Beech said: “Many people know this building as a Pret A Manger. But above is a beautiful building which always had great potential. After buying it last year, more than 70 workers have worked hard to bring it back to life and transform the interior.”
Beech added: “It’s fully let and we are proud of not only owning this building, but managing it for the foreseeable future. There’ll be a permanent concierge and we’ve committed to a 25-year loan with Lloyds Bank on 25 Cross Street.
“Developing for long-term retention can only improve the overall quality of the building. It’s very eco-friendly and located in the thriving heart of Manchester city centre.”