The office-to-residential development wave sweeping through Old Trafford shows no signs of slowing, with Marcol’s 100,000 sq ft landmark Westpoint and Bruntwood’s Trafford Plaza the latest to be lined up for change of use.
Marcol has exchanged contracts with Stephen Beech, founder of Beech Holdings, a city centre office-to-resi specialist who has exploited the permitted development rights to great effect. PDR planning policy allows offices to be converted into flats without the need for a full planning application. The sale of Westpoint on Chester Road is on track to complete in February. Savills is advising Marcol, a London-based property company. All parties declined to comment.
Around the corner from Westpoint, past Trafford Bar Metrolink stop and the Tollgate pub popular with Manchester United fans, Bruntwood has agreed a deal with MCR Property Group, controlled by Aneel Mussarat, to sell one of its two facing office buildings on Seymour Grove, a main road into Chorlton.
Trafford Plaza has been vacated and work has started on site. Trafford Plaza backs onto Seymour Park and is surrounded by shops, schools and extensive housing. Bruntwood is retaining Paragon House, over the road, as offices.
Behind Paragon House, Pinnacle Alliance has converted Grove House from redundant offices into apartments and is on site with an extension for more flats. On Talbot Road, out towards Lancashire County Cricket Club’s ground, a former office building at 84 Talbot Road has been converted into one-bed apartments called Wisden. The large Kelloggs office building opposite is understood to be on the market as the breakfast cereal giant looks to relocate.
Trafford Council is keen to see new housing delivered rapidly and encouraged PDR change of use at both Westpoint and Trafford Plaza, which are only two miles from the city centre. Both acquisitions are believed to have been priced between £5m and £10m.
Andrew Cooke, head of asset management, said: “We were approached by MCR Property Group who wished to undertake a residential conversion of Trafford Plaza. This was at a time when we were reviewing the investment required into the building in order to maintain standards for our customers.
“We took the decision to agree a sale with them and our Trafford Plaza customers have now all found new homes with us in our other buildings, with most wanting to remain in Old Trafford. With its proximity and easy access to the city centre, the area remains a key location for our business and we are continuing to focus on enhancing the customer experience within our three Old Trafford properties.”
There is now a string of active residential development linking the end of Deansgate to Old Trafford, starting with Renaker’s tall towers at Owen Street. Developers Glenbrook and DeTrafford are progressing on former commercial sites on Chester Road between Cornbrook and Castlefield.
The out-of-town office-to-resi trend is not limited to Old Trafford and the approach. In nearby Salford Quays, TH Real Estate is proposing 600 apartments at Media Village, a collection of five waterside office buildings.