Public schemes dominate DJ’s Manchester crane survey

Five out of nine new starts on construction sites in Manchester in the past year were enabled by public sector support as developer or occupier, according to the latest Drivers Jonas crane survey.

The unsurprisingly low number of starts compares to 19 in 2007/08 and 32 in 2006/07.

The publicly-backed new starts detailed by DJ were:

  • People's History Museum, Leftbank, 14,897 sq ft, completion scheduled for Q4 2009
  • The Hive, Argent and Manchester City Council, 78,000 sq ft, partially prelet to Arts Council, Q1 2010
  • Manchester Central redevelopment by Manchester City Council, £20m new foyer and extension, 2010
  • 2 New York Street, Bruntwood, prelet to public body the Law Society, 22,000 sq ft Q3 2009
  • Piccadilly Gate, BRB (Residuary), 125,000 sq ft refurbishment for Highways Agency and Government Office for the North West, 2009

The remaining four private sector schemes to start were:

  • Four Piccadilly Place, Argent, 110,000 sq ft office, completion Q4 2009
  • Poland Street, Ancoats, Mr Y Tishbi, residential and retail, 2010
  • The Ice Plant, Northern Group Development, residential, office, retail, summer 2010
  • 2 Commercial Street, Castlefield Estates, 18,740 sq ft offices, 2010

DJ said the residential market would see only 292 completions in 2010 after peaking with 2,500 units this year. In the short term, the agency said falling prices should create more affordable housing for some of the city's 28,000 annual graduates.

In offices, the study said 40% of the 2m sq ft of available space is Grade A and 'will be let quickly when the economy recovers, ensuring a fast return to rental growth.'

John Adams, partner from Drivers Jonas Manchester, said: "You only need to consider the current resilience of the city's now established business district Spinningfields to demonstrate that quality space with access to excellent amenities will always attract interest."

The report also highlighted the strength of Manchester's retail and hotel sectors, both with further capacity to grow over the next 12 months.

Around one million foreign visitors make an overnight stay in Manchester each year and there are currently two hotels under construction – the Park Inn in Green Quarter and West Properties' Origin on Princess Street.

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