Despite continued uncertainty, the North West property market has seen the trigger pulled on some key decisions and deals this year as both the public and private sector seek to build their way out of the pandemic.
Landsec invests £635m
In the space of a single week at the start of November, Landsec bought out U+I and took a majority stake in Media City. The U+I deal sees it take over as the lead developer on the much-vaunted Mayfield project in Manchester. The Media City deal means Landsec now owns 75% of the commercial scheme, home to the BBC and ITV among others, with Peel L&P retaining a 25% stake.
Kinrise snaps up Martins Bank Building
The developer paid around £16m to a Starwood Capital subsidiary for the grade two-listed Water Street building, one of the most beloved structures in Liverpool. Kinrise is readying plans for a multi-million-pound renovation, adding much-needed grade A office space to the city.
ID partner picked
The University of Manchester picked a joint venture between Bruntwood SciTech and investor Stanhope to deliver the £1.5bn ID Manchester, one of the highest profile regeneration opportunities in the country. The scheme will see much of the university’s ageing estate redeveloped to provide a 4m sq ft mixed-use scheme for science, research, development, cultural and technology companies.
Industrial pipeline boost
After a frustrating delay, the government approved 5.7m sq ft of industrial space across four schemes in St Helens (x2), Bolton and Wigan. The proposals were called in due to their position in the Green Belt, prompting a public inquiry. As the industrial sector continues to boom on the growth of ecommerce, schemes such as these could prove vital to creating jobs for local people.
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Manchester is seen by many as the petri-dish for the fledgling co-living concept. The burgeoning sector was given a huge vote of confidence when Cain International and PGIM Real Estate agreed to pay £191m to forward fund the construction of two towers being developed by Vita Group at Allied London’s Enterprise City.
Approval for Blackpool’s £300m leisure
After losing out on a bid to host the UK’s super casino, Blackpool took a huge step towards regenerating the site of the former Blackpool Central Station. Among other elements, Nikal’s Blackpool Central features three indoor entertainment venues including a 127,000 sq ft flying theatre. The project is the single largest private sector investment in the town in recent memory and is expected to attract 600,000 additional visitors to the resort each year, boost the local economy by £75m a year. Following the approval of the potentially game-changing development, the council’s chief of planning Susan Parker was presented with flowers as a gift for the hard work she had done on the project.
UNESCO turns its back on Liverpool
In July, the United Nations organisation stripped the city of its World Heritage Status – largely due to Peel L&P’s planned £5bn waterfront regeneration. Commentators were split in their assessment of UNESCO’s decision; some were pleased, saying the designation had held back development in the city, while others saw it as a blow to Liverpool’s reputation.