The First Street GPA deal is the largest Manchester letting of 2022 so far. Credit: via planning documents

PIC to fund £105m Manchester civil service hub

Pension Insurance Corporation will pay for the construction of the 130,000 sq ft First Street office, which is let to the Government Property Agency on a 25-year lease. 

The £105m forward funding deal is PIC’s second in Manchester in the space of two years after the investor inked a £130m forward funding deal for Muse Developments’ New Victoria build-to-rent scheme in September 2020. 

“We are delighted to have concluded this market-leading transaction during a period of such turbulence in both financial and construction markets,” said James Agar, head of long income at PIC. 

“This investment provides us with secure, long-dated and index-linked cashflows, which are perfectly aligned to serving PIC’s purpose, which is to pay the pensions of our current and future policyholders over coming decades.” 

Agar added: “Government let commercial property assets have been an area of specific focus for PIC and we are pleased to make this long-term commitment to supporting the modernisation of the GPA estate. We expect First Street to be the first development in an expanding partnership with the GPA as it looks to deliver its strategic roll out for 2025 and beyond.” 

Designed by Jon Matthews Architects and developed by Ask Real Estate and the Richardson Family, the Manchester civil service hub will be home to around 2,500 government staff once it completes. 

Of those 2,500 roles, 700 will be relocated from London. The others will be relocated from Piccadilly Gate, which is to be demolished to make way for HS2. 

The government anticipates that the move of civil service roles to Manchester could generate £31m in economic benefits for the city. 

John Hughes, managing director at Ask Real Estate, said: “We’re delighted that PIC had the commercial expertise and transactional experience to respond so effectively, within very tight timescales, to work collaboratively with both ourselves and the GPA to get this deal agreed under such volatile economic circumstances. 

“This news will enable us to realise and progress our ambition to accommodate 10,000 jobs by 2028 and create a sustainable urban campus. Attracting the GPA to the estate further establishes First Street as one of the most sought-after business destinations in the region.” 

Bam Construction is on board to build the office, which is due to open in 2025.

The building aims to be the first in Manchester capable of achieving a minimum NABERS rating of 5.5* or above.   

Your Comments

Read our comments policy

why market leading?

By Charles LC

Wow I remember when first St was just a gasometer called Grand Island and it was developed to allow the British Council to move from London. The whole site has developed so much since BT came and went.

By Anonymous

First Street was going to be the site for the BBC, if Manchester had won the bid.

By Elephant

Looks like a multi storey car park


It’s better for BBC workers that they chose Salford Quays then

By Phi

It is certainly better for Manchester and Mancunians that the BBC went to Salford. The number of high value jobs at Circle Square, around 3000, and the number of homes that have been created and developed and the economic output from that knocks spots off what the BBC delivered. Everyone was full of angst at the time but it all worked out for the best. Same with Granada. They both created opportunities that have been graspwith both hands. Now that is called regeneration!!

By Delightful

Related Articles

Sign up to receive the Place Daily Briefing

Join more than 13,000 property professionals and receive your free daily round-up of built environment news direct to your inbox


Join more than 13,000 property professionals and sign up to receive your free daily round-up of built environment news direct to your inbox.

By subscribing, you are agreeing to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

"*" indicates required fields

Your Job Field*
Other regional Publications - select below