A scheme to support the University Academy ’92 in Old Trafford has moved forward with Trafford Council aiming to buy a vacant office block on Chester Road and redevelop it into student flats.
The Charlton House site has been earmarked by the council as a student accommodation development opportunity to help support the wider UA92 university, which will be largely focussed around the former Kellogg’s site on Brian Statham Way, opposite the Old Trafford Cricket Ground.
The eight-storey Charlton House sits on the corner of Montague Road and Chester Road, next to The Trafford pub, and is currently vacant.
Trafford Council is looking to bring forward the site with a development partner, and said it had “already entered into discussions with a potential preferred delivery partner”.
It has now appointed advisors JLL to help it negotiate a price for the building with its private owners, but failing an agreement, the council will look to issue a compulsory purchase order to buy the site.
Initial plans are to retain the existing building and convert it into an 140-bed student accommodation block, while a neighbouring plot bordered by Warwick Road and Montague Road on either site, which forms part of the same site, could be built on to provider further student flats.
Any new-build would be as part of a second phase of development, with the refurbishment of Charlton House forming the first phase. Blue Sky Architects has provided designs for the refurbishment of Charlton House.
As the area forms a “gateway site”, the council said “higher density and taller buildings may be appropriate” at the site.
A planning application for the first phase is expected to be brought forward in the coming months, as the development would need to be ready to welcome the University’s first students in September 2019.
A report to Trafford Council’s executive, due to be discussed on 26 February, said: “The full regeneration benefits of the development of UA92 for Stretford can only be achieved if there is certainty about the delivery of a comprehensive, well-designed scheme that provides the appropriate level of high-quality and dedicated student accommodation.
“The proposed development must be of the highest quality in order to match the aspirations of the council, its partners, and the community of Stretford, and be a catalyst for change”.
The council has been recommended to approve the proposals when it meets next week.
The site falls within the wider Stretford masterplan, which was signed off in January this year. UA92 will be a branch of Lancaster University, and is being delivered in partnership with Bruntwood, Trafford College, and Microsoft. It is supported by former Manchester United footballers Gary and Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, and Nicky Butt.
As well as the university, the masterplan also includes the partial redevelopment of Stretford Mall and the potential purchase and restoration of the Essoldo cinema.