Landmark Owens Park Tower would be demolished as part of the campus renewal
Landmark Owens Park Tower would be demolished as part of the campus renewal

Uni tries again with Fallowfield redevelopment

The University of Manchester has issued a revised invitation to development partners to rebuild the Owen Parks accommodation campus with the budget set at £245m compared to £175m in late 2014.

Earlier this year the university mutually agreed not to proceed with Abu Dhabi investor Mubadala Development Company, selected in December 2014, after construction inflation prompted a rethink. Planning permission was granted for the BDP-designed scheme with Mubadala in December 2015.

The area is home to 3,251 students, as well as the university’s central catering unit and site maintenance depot, sports facilities, hotel and conference centre and gardens.

The procurement paperwork published this week said: “Much of the residential accommodation on the Fallowfield site dates from the 1960’s and does not now meet the expectations of students or their parents. The site is underutilised and is capable of accommodating additional student numbers which in turn would support the provision of new, essential support facilities, for example new student hub facilities, which would also serve the needs of the wider student population in the Fallowfield area.

“The University’s goal is to enhance the strengths of the Campus by replacing much of the existing accommodation with modern and well-designed residences that meet the needs of students today and in the future, complemented with the right support services and amenities.”

The university said it wants the campus renewal to be “financially and commercially viable — a development that ‘takes care of itself’”.

The phasing comprises:

Phase one: 1,122 bedrooms in cluster flats in eight blocks, contract starting February 2017 for June 2019 finish; budget £65m to £75m

Phase two: Demolition of existing Oak House buildings and The Limes; 1,191 study bedrooms, 492 townhouse study bedrooms, 699 cluster flat study bedrooms; July 2019 to June 2021; £92m

Phase three: Demolition of existing Owens Park buildings including the tower; 896 cluster flat study bedrooms; April 2021 to September 2022; £65m.

The appointed contractor will also be expected to deliver shops, energy centres, landscaping and other facilities.

The budget figures are based on £55,000 to £60,000 for each bed.

The university intends to shortlist five candidates to go through to the next stage. The procurement will initially be for phase one only with the option to extend to phases two and three.

The deadline for requests to take part in the bid is 5pm on 2 November.

Your Comments

I spent my first year at Mcr in Owens Park in the early 90s. The accommodation was out of date even then, so this is long overdue! In Oak House the rooms were tiny and if you were over 6 feet tall your feet stuck out overthe end of the bed. Word was that the whole cdomplex was based on a Swedish prison design and the fact that the interior walls were (are) painted breezeblock was because too late they realised that plastering would reduce the interior dimensions to below the legal minimum..

By John

Yeah, all that sounds like horses*** though. Were you told the library was sinking because nobody accounted for the weight of the books, or the swimming pool is techncially not “Olympic standard” because they forgot about the depth of the tiles. These rumours go round every uni.

It is a crappy hole though. I was at Bowden Court by the aquatics centre (now demolished), and that was even more grim.

By franz

We had that one about the library at Bath… We also had painted breeze-blocks, but we just assumed that was because it was cheap.

By Tim

Subscribe to our newsletter