Renaissance Hotel Manchester 2
The developer's Renaissance Hotel in Manchester has been up for sale since February

Urban & Civic agrees share sale to Wellcome Trust

Sarah Townsend

The science and research charity is to acquire the London-listed property developer in a £506m deal, according to a stock exchange filing.

The Wellcome Trust, which was set up in 1936 by pharmaceutical tycoon Sir Henry Wellcome and has an endowment fund totalling £27.8bn, put in a cash offer to buy Urban & Civic and the parties reached an agreement last week, the statement said.

Headquartered in Edinburgh, Urban & Civic has real estate interests across the UK, including the Renaissance Hotel development site and the 350-apartment New Square residential scheme, both in Manchester.

The company has been engaged in a process to sell the site of the 1970s Renaissance Hotel on Deansgate, with three interested bidders in the running and developer Property Alliance Group thought to be the current frontrunner.

Two years before the site was put up for sale in February, Urban & Civic had appointed Glenn Howells Architects to draw up a £200m redevelopment proposal for the site, including three towers with 600 apartments, a 250-bed five-star hotel, and conference, retail and public space.

In a joint filing to the London Stock Exchange, Urban & Civic and the Wellcome Trust said the developer’s board had was unanimously recommending that shareholders back the offer of 345p for each share in the firm.

The Wellcome Trust has received funding support for the acquisition from asset manager Investec Wealth & Investment, equating to around 9.7% of Urban & Civic’s shares.

The charity works to fund research to improve human and animal health, and generates returns from its portfolio of investments – including in property – around the world.

The Wellcome Trust is helping Urban & Civic to fund the development of a £1.2bn garden community called Manydown, near Basingstoke in Hampshire, which received outline planning permission in July.

The proposed community would feature 3,520 new homes as well as schools, businesses, shops and a 250-acre country park.

 

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This is brilliant, forward-looking news. Registered address is Edinburgh but headquarters is New Bond Street. London

By Pete Swift

This site [Renaissance] desperately needs redevelopment, it has been a mess for years. Hopefully we’ll start to see some movement on this. It’s a prime site and deserves better than what’s there currently.

By Jon P

Hopefully the Welcome Trust will now take the site and it’s redevelopment forward, even though it is currently being marketed for sale by Urban and Civic.

By jrb