The search for a development partner to deliver the 240-acre Salford Crescent masterplan has narrowed to four parties, including partnerships between some of the region’s biggest players.
Bruntwood with Capital & Centric; Peel with Urban Splash; English Cities Fund, made up of Muse Developments, L&G and Homes England; and Robertson have been shortlisted, with the preferred development partner due to be selected by the end of the year.
The 240-acre site covers much of the University of Salford’s existing campus, areas around the Crescent, Peel Park, and Frederic Road North.
Overall, the University’s estate extends north and south of The Crescent, taking in the listed elements of the Musuem & Art Gallery, to Salford Crescent station and includes green spaces at the Meadows, Peel Park and the David Lewis Sports Ground.
The masterplan was first announced last year, and the university with Salford City Council launched the search for a private sector partner at MIPIM in March.
CBRE is advising the council and university, while architect 5plus created the masterplan for the site, which splits development into five areas; Adelphi, The Crescent, Peel Park, a Health Village, and Innovation District. This includes a wide range of buildings; residential, student accommodation, university education blocks, incubation space, retail and leisure, and improvements around existing assets such as the Salford Museum & Art Gallery.
At the time of the tender launch in Cannes, Iain Jenkinson, senior director of CBRE, said the partner could either be a consortium or a single developer, with the council “not looking to be overly prescriptive” in its approach, although he added: “We’d implore partners not to come with a large design team”.
Bruntwood’s place on the shortlist comes as little surprise given its specialism in developments partnering with councils and universities, as seen on schemes such as Manchester Oxford Road Corridor, and the recent partnership with Liverpool Knowledge Quarter. Its partnership with Capital & Centric brings variety to the bid; the developer has worked on Salford schemes since its early years, delivering projects such as the Foundry in partnership with the city council.
English Cities Fund is prolific in its work in Salford; currently 10 years into the extensive Salford Central masterplan, regenerating 50 acres of the city to deliver projects such as New Bailey, and projects along Chapel Street.
Meanwhile, Peel is behind the 200-acre MediaCityUK at Salford Quays, and has extensive long-running ties to the area as an owner of the Ship Canal. The developer has already partnered with Urban Splash at another of its major sites, Wirral Waters, as Urban Splash makes a major push into its modular brand, HoUSe.
Robertson is a major privately-owned Scottish infrastructure and construction group, which has had designs on growth in the North West for some time. Hires to its regional office include several ex-Laing O’Rourke directors, a contractor popular on several of Manchester’s more prominent projects such as Manchester Central Library, Manchester Airport, and St Peter’s Square.
Salford City Council was contacted for comment.