Winner chosen for £550m Mayfield competition

Listed developer U+I has been selected to bring forward the £550m regeneration of a 24-acre site in central Manchester, despite being a late addition to the competition after Argent dropped out in April.

Mayfield Partnership, made up of London & Continental Railways, Manchester City Council and Transport for Greater Manchester, opened the search for a development partner for the Mayfield Quarter in September 2015.

In April, a shortlist made up of Argent, Urban & Civic, and a consortium of Ask, Carillion and Patrizia was announced, however later that month Argent dropped out of the competition and U+I was named replacement bidder.

Mayfield Quarter is set to create around 1,300 homes, 800,000 sq ft of offices, a 350-bedroom hotel, retail and leisure facilities and a new six-acre city park along a remediated River Medlock.

The project has long been linked with a large-scale Government office requirement. The regeneration framework drafted for the scheme in 2009 detailing plans for “a pioneering sustainable office campus aimed at setting new standards for the Civil Service estate”. Talks stalled when the coalition Government shelved its plans for a “Whitehall of the North”, but it is understood that the Government Property Unit is still considering Mayfield for up to 950,000 sq ft of offices.

CGIs by Bennetts Associates Architects show how the 24-acre Mayfield project could look, according to the strategic regeneration framework approved by Manchester City Council in 2014

CGIs by Bennetts Associates Architects show how the 24-acre Mayfield project could look, created as part of the regeneration plan made in 2009

Mayfield Quarter fits alongside Network Rail’s Northern Hub scheme which is scheduled to complete in 2018, and the proposed HS2 station at Piccadilly.

U+I was created following a merger between Development Securities and Cathedral Group in 2014.

The developer investor has had several projects in Manchester, including:

  • Axis in Manchester city centre in a JV with Property Alliance Group, under construction and set to total 172 flats
  • Acquisition of Chill Factore, Trafford, in partnership with Pemberstone Investments, in 2015 for £15m
  • Residential and leisure development at The Square shopping centre and Connaught Place in Hale Barns, backed by CBRE Global Investors
  • Manchester Arena, owned alongside Patron Capital Partners and sold in 2013 to Mansford Real Estate for £82m

In its preliminary results released in April for the period to February 2016, U+I reported its “second consecutive year of record development and trading gains”. It has an investment portfolio valued at £203m, and £161m of net debt. Its pre-tax profits for the financial year were £25.8m.

U+I declined to confirm its involvement in Mayfield, and would not give details on how it would fund the large-scale project. However, according to a statement on U+I’s website, its business model is “an equity-light approach” in which it limits financial exposure “by pre-funding or pre-selling our development projects or by securing public sector development land at limited entry costs”.

JLL is advising the Mayfield Partnership on the procurement process. A spokesman for JLL declined to comment, and said the procurement process was in a standstill period and confirmation of the successful developer would be released in the coming weeks.

U+I’s share price was down this morning by 3p to 181.5p.

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So happy Ask / Carillion / Patrizia didn’t get it. Looks like their antics at First Street have come back to haunt them.

By Prioritise Place Over Profit

this might sound naive and ignorant – but what exactly where their antics at first street? keep reading that they “made a mess of it” but not entirely sure why, have never been there so unaware of the quality of it.

By Dave

Dave, there’s nothing wrong with First Street, it’s just not to everyone’s tastes. No one ‘made a mess of it’. There were no “antics” and nothing has come back to haunt anyone. The winning bid just met the criteria more than the others.

By Anon

Whilst I don’t think there were “antics” at First Street, it is by common consent a dog’s breakfast architecturally, so it’s right to give someone else a go at Mayfield.

By Gene Walker

Ask’s antics – where do we start? This is a firm that benefitted from heavy and sustained public subsidy into the site which they exploited, not by creating a high quality place worthy of a “cultural quarter” with world class architecture and open space, but cut every conceivable cost and sold out to Carillion and Patrizia at the earliest opportunity.

Unlike other developers they displayed no appetite for wanting to create long term value. This was a short term profit making exercise and the manifest flaws in the end result demonstrate this only too readily.

By Prioritise Place Over Profit

Hope there’s a blue plaque erected in acknowledgement of the post-production work that was done on The Wizard of Oz in the Mayfield Rank Studios.

By Mizzer

The inclusion of a plaque is at the forefront of all of our minds

By zebith

Mayfield Rank Studios? Mizzer – can you explain, please?

By 5373

Nothing wrong with First street? It looks like that Shopping complex in Cheetham Hill village.Just needs a Dixy Chick and it is a mirror image.Nice view for visitors on the train passing through.As for the name HOME.Another example of pretentious rubbish which makes no linguistic sense.

By Elephant