Beech Properties Cross Street

Beech plans office-to-resi on Cross Street

Paul Unger

Beech Properties has completed the acquisition of the upper office floors of 25-27 Cross Street in Manchester from a private investor.

Beech will convert the four floors into 27 apartments for private rental starting at £500/month. The Pret A Manger at ground floor level was not part of the deal.

The property is outside Manchester’s exemption zone for permitted development rights (PDR) office to residential conversion. The 7,000 sq ft property previously had consent for eight apartments. Under PDR developers convert offices to residential without planning permission. PDR is due to expire in May 2016 but many property commentators expect the Government to extend the policy beyond that date.

Stephen Beech, proprietor at Manchester-based Beech Properties, said: “There is huge demand for affordable one-bed starter homes in the city centre, from graduates who have recently moved out of student accommodation and found their first job, to qualified professionals who appreciate a genuine central city location. Beech provides well-designed high-specification apartments aimed at single occupiers providing a cost-effective alternative to shared housing outside the city centre.”

Beech’s in-house design team has used innovative space-saving techniques such as underfloor heating removing the need for radiators, no boilers or water-tanks in cupboards, built-in Ottoman lift-up beds with large storage space underneath, tall narrow wardrobes and a shared laundry room on each floor to remove washing machines from studio kitchens.

The design is also aimed at creating a carbon-neutral building using renewable technology including air source heat pumps, solar panels, and heat recovery ventilation systems.

Stephen Beech added: “I think PDR is fantastic, it serves two purposes – to create homes quickly and to support employment. We will employ over 70 workers through the development programme and create permanent jobs to manage and operate the completed development, as well as house 27 people at Cross Street, all within nine months of acquisition.”

This development will bring the whole building back to useful purpose, guaranteeing its long term future use after a number of years standing largely vacant. The permitted change to residential use helps meet latent demand from occupiers and provides social, economic and environmental benefits in an accessible and sustainable location, Beech said.

Savills marketed the building for sale.

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