North Campus View With Railway Line

Month in property | November

Can I see some ID?

A host of big names, some unexpected, threw their hat into the ring for the city’s most coveted development partner role at ID Manchester, the £1.5bn masterplan taking in a big chunk of the University of Manchester’s North Campus. Many were shocked completely unsurprised when it was revealed Bruntwood had made the shortlist, along with Muse, both being stalwarts of the masterplan/development partner scene in the city. The buddying up of Peel and Urban Splash was slightly more leftfield, although the two have also been shortlisted in a JV for the University of Salford’s Crescent masterplan. Henry Boot Developments also scored a place on the shortlist – makes sense considering how the company is motoring on with Kampus – but the two curveballs were BCEGI with science park developer Tuspark, along with Singapore-based investor Mapletree. Perhaps proof that global Britain isn’t so much a thing of the past, even in today’s Brexit-bashed market.

Contact Company Liverpool

Hanging up

November was the month the long-running, and not to mention controversial, plan to build a call centre on Kings Dock finally bit the dust. After buying the freehold for a nominal sum earlier in the year, Liverpool City Council has appointed CBRE to sell the waterfront plots, clearly sounding the death knell for the proposed 45,000 sq ft office building for The Contact Company, headed up by Liverpool LEP chairman Asif Hamid. That will be music to the ears of plenty of Liverpool developers, particularly given the uproar the initial announcement to build the call centre caused in 2017. And fair enough: the land was originally set aside for leisure use, so hopefully, whoever buys the site can come up with something a bit more ambitious for this prominent waterfront plot.

Liverpool Aerial October 2019

Hotel hell

In the same month Liverpool City Council gave the go-head to nearly 800 hotel bedrooms at a single planning committee, something slightly strange happened. A motion also went before the council calling for planning powers over Airbnb holiday lets, similar to those in Greater London, to stem the tide of absentee landlords and the proliferation of stag and hen parties taking up residence in quieter neighbourhoods. The move seems slightly to be cutting off the nose to spite the face, as any restriction on Liverpool’s booming tourist market probably isn’t the wisest in the current climate. The council’s complaint that Airbnbs end up being “party houses” may also be a little harsh, with apparently their preferred option being to funnel rowdy groups into the open arms of Lawrence Kenwright’s Signature Living Hotels. Although, given the accusations Kenwright is facing over his promises to investors – with the BBC even wading in to give him a telling off – perhaps there might be a fire sale on 14-bed hotel rooms soon…?

Cotton Quay Nov 2019

High rise

Proposals for residential schemes around Salford Quays continued to come thick and fast, with Royalton Group and Frogmore advancing £385m plans for the Pier 7 site in a project, which is set to include Salford Quays’ tallest tower at 48 storeys. A planning application went in for up to 1,496 homes, in the same month Cole Waterhouse was granted consent for its 31-storey tower at Anchorage Quay, due to start on site by next summer, and made up of 290 apartments. Nearer to the city centre, Renaker’s application for a three-tower scheme totalling 1,500 apartments was submitted last week. A tower of 50 storeys is set to come forward first, no doubt in Renaker’s rapid delivery style, along with a public park, while two more buildings of between 41 and 50 storeys will be detailed next year. With Glenbrook also getting in on the Quays action with proposals for a 280-apartment project with Peel at MediaCityUK, Salford is starting to feel like a game of developer pile-on.

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There are plenty of legitimate options available for visitors to our city, including apartments in dedicated complexes. It helps no one who matters to ruin previously liveable apartment blocks by letting one or two flats out as party flats. The council are right on this.

The city has also been attracting more big name hotel investor interest than ever, with Brexit not having any effect on that.

By Mike