James Heather, development director of regeneration firm U+I, has left the company “to pursue other interests”.
Heather, who has worked for the London Stock Exchange-listed U+I since 2017 and has helped lead the planning of the £1.4bn redevelopment of Manchester’s Mayfield depot near Piccadilly Station, has decided to take a career break, the company said.
In a statement, Heather said: “It’s been an incredible past three-and-a-half years at the helm of this landmark regeneration project.
“Having made significant progress with our worthwhile strategy to reconnect Mayfield with the people of Manchester, and also achieve unanimous planning approval for phase one of the project earlier this year, I feel now is the right time for a change in direction in my working life.
“I leave U+I and the Mayfield Partnership with many good friends and some outstanding memories.”
Heather’s role leading the team in Manchester has been filled by Arlene Van Bosch, U+I’s development director for Dublin and Manchester.
U+I is part of the Mayfield Partnership, which also comprises Manchester City Council, LCR and Transport for Greater Manchester, that is regenerating a 30-acre site around the derelict Mayfield Depot into a mixed-use scheme and 6.5-acre public park.
The consortium won planning approval for the first phase of the scheme – a 32,000 sq ft office block and public park – in February, and construction work is expected to start in the coming weeks.
Mayfield scooped £23m from the Government in August as part of Whitehall’s fund to support ‘shovel-ready’ schemes. The following month, U+I set a target of returning a profit of between £80m and £100m on Mayfield, providing a welcome fillip for shareholders after the company warned earlier in the year it could miss earnings targets for this year on the back of Covid-related project delays.
The company said in May it is looking for land acquisitions in “major city regions” such as Greater Manchester.
U+I’s Van Bosch said: “James made a significant contribution to the Mayfield project and our successful partnership with Broadwick Live at Depot Mayfield has already had a brilliant impact on Manchester’s cultural offer.
“Despite the challenges 2020 has posed, I couldn’t be more positive for the future of Mayfield as we prepare for the imminent start of construction work on Phase One, which includes the stunning 6.5 acre Mayfield Park – the city centre’s first new park in more than 100 years – which will set the tone for the future of this incredible new neighbourhood.”
Before joining U+I, Heather was director of Rotherwood Property Development, and, prior to that, was a project manager, then partner, at London-based developer Argent for almost 16 years, responsible for overseeing the Manchester office and the company’s One St Peters Square office scheme.