David Pringle, director of Noma, the Co-operative Group's 20-acre development in central Manchester, told delegates at Mipim the company will continue to deliver the project alone for the foreseeable future.
A lengthy development contest has failed to find a suitable partner for the scheme, Pringle said. He told guests on the Manchester Stand on Wednesday: "We wouldn't have started this development without understanding the size of the commitment needed and a having a clear plan to deliver it.
"We recognised right at the outset if we were to do this with the right partner it would really add to the success of Noma. We started a process last year of trying to find a partner who wished to share in our vision.
"Those discussions are still ongoing, we've had some great conversations but this is a very large and complex project and we're not quite there yet. But for us it's really important that we get this right so we're not going to rush it. We'll continue to develop out Noma ourselves until we find the right partner or partners."
Place understands a recommendation will be put to the Co-op board later this month that neither of the shortlisted joint venture partners are selected. The sticking point is believed to be the level of financial commitment the bidders were willing to commit; the Co-op wanted them to take a greater share of the risk.
Instead, the Co-op will develop alone or consider piecemeal plot sales and development agreements with specialists for separate elements such as office refurbishment, residential and retail as phases come forward.
The two shortlisted contenders were reportedly Bruntwood and a combined Delancey and Landid bid.
The Co-op has consent for 4m sq ft of development in its estate in the north of the city centre. The scheme is anchored by its own new 325,000 sq ft headquarters which is due for completion this year.