The developer has confirmed the acquisition of a 20-acre plot including railway arches and the Red Bank Viaduct as part of its wider £1bn Northern Gateway masterplan for north Manchester, paving the way for the first 1,000 homes in the emerging neighbourhood.
The land, acquired from Network Rail, features 17 railway arches and warehouse units along with former railway sidings.
The plot will be used to provide more than 1,000 homes including the first elements of a planned city park at St Catherine’s Wood, which will ultimately link to Angel Meadow on the edge of the city centre.
It is the fourth major acquisition for FEC within the Red Bank area, with the former Angelgate plot on Dantzic Street, and another neighbouring plot also being purchased in the last 12 months.
Red Bank, the nearest plot in the masterplan to Victoria Station, has the potential to house tall buildings, while there is also an ambition to bring forward a “brewery quarter”, featuring existing businesses within the site’s railway arches.
The existing Red Bank viaduct will also be re-used under FEC’s plans for the area, with the potential for New York High Line-style park or a route connecting the area directly with Victoria Station.
Tom Fenton of FEC said: “This is a significant acquisition for the company and for the Northern Gateway Joint Venture. It enables FEC to deliver the next key phase of this major new residential destination and the beginning of the transformation this forgotten part of the city into a successful, fully functioning place
“We will work towards retaining and enhancing the Red Bank viaduct, encouraging the independent and entrepreneurial tenants to remain in the arches and to flourish as the area evolves.”
Last month, FEC secured a loan from Manchester City Council to help acquire land for the Northern Gateway. The loan for land acquisition will be repaid by FEC at the point of development and can be reinvested by the council into other projects. FEC and the council have also put forward a bid for Housing Infrastructure Fund money to support development.
According to the council, the loan will allow FEC to submit a planning application and start on site with its first development in 2019/20. The total value of the loan remains undisclosed.
To help delivery of the £1bn Northern Gateway project, FEC has also added 10 new staff, bringing numbers up to 19.
Among these is Anthony Payne who has joined as a procurement director, while Hilary Brett has also been promoted to project director, having joined the company in 2017 from How Planning, now Avison Young.