Flintoff to a flyer
Hopes had been high that should cricketer-turned-pundit Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff go into property, it would be in the industrial market; Big Fred’s Big Sheds has a ring to it. But it seems that sexy resi towers are the order of the day for your sporty types, and the big man’s followed the Neville-Giggs model and has proposed a 36-storey whopper in Castlefield. There’s nothing of that scale around the Arundel Street site right now, but once Renaker are done and dusted across the way at Owen Street, no one will bat an eyelid.
Royal London is to stay in Cheshire East, and council brows are being mopped in relief. The insurer is off from Wilmslow to Alderley Park, leading some cynics to wryly note that RL isn’t technically a bioscience business, supposedly Alderley’s target audience – but to be fair, the mammoth Parklands HQ was always zoned for a more general market by owner Bruntwood. Royal London Asset Management is to take on the offices being exited, and those minded may wish to keep an eye on the scale of development being planned there.
In the limelight
With Colin Sinclair providing a deft touch on the tiller, Liverpool’s Knowledge Quarter has been a huge rallying point for the city at a time when several other key projects have gone belly-up or become mired in controversy. KQ Liverpool was thus charged with a visioning document for the city’s future street-level transport, aired at MIPIM UK. Not only is it sensible, with several cost-efficient options, it’s got a funky name – the Lime Line. If this doesn’t work, nothing will.
Never mind the Monarch’s
Images emerged this month of plans for Monarch’s Quay, the last bit of Liverpool’s Kings Dock to be developed, and the response could best be summed up as “underwhelmed”. It’s not so much the architect’s fault, with Falconer Chester Hall a very capable firm, as the developer and council’s lack of ambition. One hates to constantly compare with Manchester – the odds are stacked in many ways – but what’s planned here, even beyond The Contact Company’s call centre which forms the first phase, doesn’t compare well to the “only the best” approach to the last plot at Spinningfields.
A good month indeed for Property Alliance Group, which over the course of a couple of years has spent £14m or so acquiring and tarting up Trident Office Park, before selling out to Longmead Capital for £25m, possibly inspiring Barwood and DB Symmetry to put the nearby Manchester Green on the market. Is someone spending loads of money on an airport close by or something? Alliance is also now going big on 55 Portland Street, ripping up its renovation plans in favour of a spanking new 17-storey hotel. Goodness.
Everyone’s going market-mad aren’t they? The Mackie Mayor’s opened in Manchester, Rochdale’s HSBC is being cleared out so lads with beards can sell artisan dumplings, Urmston’s to get a food hall, and Preston’s new indoor market will open in January. Now that only the deep of pocket can afford to buy homes, the up-and-comers of the food world are benefiting from the yuppie money being spent elsewhere. Stockport’s at the start of its market plans, and it will be intriguing to see who takes over at Produce Hall.