‘Two horse race’ for Oxford Road station site

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Muse Developments and Bruntwood are going head to head to bring forward a scheme around Oxford Road station in Manchester city centre, following the withdrawal of Capital & Centric, Valad and First Step from the tender process.

Network Rail and Manchester City Council appointed DTZ in August 2014 to find a developer for the project. By December, the shortlist of five developers had been drawn up as part of the first stage of the OJEU procedure.

Capital & Centric submitted its proposals in a joint venture with Carillion. Carillion pulled out once the tender process was underway and Capital & Centric was unable to proceed.

According to a spokesman from Valad, it was decided that the end use of the scheme, which is expected to be residential-led, was not within the developer's remit.

The site has the potential for up to 500,000 sq ft of development including offices, hotel and residential, together with leisure and retail, on the Oxford Road and Whitworth Street West frontages.

First Step, DTZ, Bruntwood and Muse declined or were unavailable to comment at the time of publication.

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This is such an important site that demands an architectural response of the highest quality. It also demands that the valuable character, embodied by the old Cornerhouse building, the Grand Central pub and the Industrial era streets behind are preserved. I have no idea what the bidders propose but given the mess one of these bidders has created at the mixed use Smithfield Market in the Northern Quarter and at Aston Moss, I know which one I would trust more to deliver a suitable scheme.

By Anon reader