Salford City Council has agreed in principal for the former Colgate factory in Salford Quays to be redeveloped into a 380,000 sq ft office scheme.
The former factory, which is being renamed Soapworks, forms part of private equity firm, The Carlyle Group, and joint venture partners Abstract Nikal's plans to regenerate an 8.42-acre site in Salford Quays into a mixed use development known as Ivy Wharf.
The Carlyle Group said full planning permission of the scheme "is subject to certain s106 agreements" which the group expects to resolve in the near future.
The joint venture has been in ongoing talks with Salford City Council and Central Salford urban regeneration company.
It is intended that the existing factory will be developed into office space and supported by retail units, a gym and restaurants on the ground floor.
Floor plates of up to 82,500 sq ft are being offered with units starting at 2,000 sq ft.
The Carlyle Group said that the first phase of development, of the adjoining boiler house, will commence immediately after full planning permission is granted. Totalling 25,000 sq ft, the boiler house will provide four floors of office space together with a marketing suite on the ground floor. The Carlyle Group added that interest from potential occupiers has been strong and it expects to sign its first tenants for the building shortly.
The Carlyle Group joined with Nick Payne and Alan Murphy's Manchester-based Nikal and ex-Akeler chief Mark Glatman's Abstract to form a three-way joint venture to redevelop the site.
The Carlyle Group acquired the site in October 2008 for £30m through its third European Real Estate Fund, Carlyle Europe Real Estate Partners III, which closed in June 2008 having raised €2.2bn of equity.
The site, next to the large Exchange Quays office buildings, is within the Media City UK area which will benefit from the relocation of five BBC departments.
Speaking yesterday, Mark Harris, director of The Carlyle Group, said: "We have been encouraged by the strong support from both the local community and Salford Council for our plans to regenerate this historic site. We are pleased that our plans have been taken one stage further by approval in principle to our application and will now focus our attention on fulfilling the remaining s106 criteria. Our commitment to commence construction immediately on the Soapworks site as soon as we have full planning in place, reflects our confidence in both the project and the Manchester region, which we continue to see as an important regional business centre in the UK.
"We have already seen strong interest in the scheme and are in negotiations with a number of potential tenants."
Nick Payne, from Abstract Nikal, added: "Soapworks is one of the most exciting and creative developments to happen in the North West over the last few years. The scheme will offer unrivalled floor plates of up to 82,500 sq ft, allowing large occupiers a single floor plate occupation. The level of architectural design created by our architects Shed KM will offer spectacular space, overlooking the waterfront, affording companies a fabulous working environment with on-site catering, and at very competitive rental levels."
Canning O'Neill is retained as agents for the scheme.