The Government Property Unit is understood to be close to signing for 175,000 sq ft at English Cities Fund’s New Bailey.
ECf is a joint venture between Muse, the Homes & Communities Agency and Legal & General, and has been building out the New Bailey site on the edge of Salford since 2013. One New Bailey is complete and largely occupied by Freshfields Bruckhaus Geringer, construction has started on the 188,000 sq ft Two New Bailey, and the area has capacity to support a further three office buildings.
The GPU was created in 2010 to create efficiencies across the Government estate, and is co-ordinating the regional hubs programme which is seeing 18 large offices created around the UK to co-locate local public sector departments, including 13 hubs with the HMRC. In September, the HMRC confirmed its letting of 350,000 sq ft in Liverpool’s India Buildings, and is expected to be the first department to occupy the new location in Manchester.
The total size of the requirement for the Manchester hub has been flexible; while the Government had hoped to move multiple departments into one location, it is also juggling different dates for lease breaks across its current estate. However, the total size expected to be taken, either in one or several locations, is around 750,000 sq ft.
The Government requirement had long been linked to the 24-acre Mayfield, due to its location close to a train station, and its capacity to deliver up to 800,000 sq ft of offices.
Other locations which had considered by the GPU were Hermes and Co-Op’s Noma neighbourhood, and Patrizia and GMPVF’s First Street.
JLL advises the GPU. JLL and ECf declined to comment.