Realty rebrands ex-BBC site as Oxford Square

Developer Realty Estates has released a detailed image of its plans for the former BBC Oxford Road site in Manchester, which it has renamed Oxford Square.

A spokesman for Realty Estates confirmed the developer was in talks with several investors over various options for the site, ranging from a complete acquisition to a joint venture agreement.

The proposals for Oxford Square include up to 150,000 sq ft of offices over two blocks, and 350 residential flats over a further two buildings.

Shahram Sakhdari, head of development at Realty Estates, told Place North West: "There has been strong interest in the market. The team is in place and ready to start the planning application process – the scheme has been drawn up and can now be commercially appraised. Once we come to an arrangement with a committed investor, we can put forward a joint planning application."

Realty Estates bought New Broadcasting House from the BBC in 2011 and the 5.4-acre plot was vacated with all buildings later demolished when the BBC moved to MediaCityUK.

A strategic regeneration framework for the site, designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and prepared by Deloitte, was approved in 2013 by the council to guide the regeneration over the next 10 to 15 years.

The project team contains architect AHR, HOW Planning, quantity surveyor and project manager Gardiner & Theobald, retail agent Cheetham & Mortimer, marketing agency 90 Degrees and residential development advisor Savills. Peter Skelton, development advisor at WHR, will continue to oversee the project.

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Yeah yeah, another anonymous-looking soul-less box full of offices and flats. And what of the important bit, the ground level frontage? I assume more Tesco Metro, Costa Coffee, blah, blah, blah. I still say the city could use another park around there, but of course, where’s the profit in trees, green space and clean air?

By Tim

The city could use more green space but the BBC site has All Saints Park and the Granby Row mini park nearby. I think a park nearer the centre would be better.


Agreed with RTN – the city centre would indeed benefit from more green space, but unconvinced that should be here. Without high-density development, there is no "city centre", and green space should be limited and strategically placed. This is part of the university corridor, and the All Saints open space is only a short walk away. Compare the layout to the horrible monolithic BBC block it replaces. A permeable site with tasteful and proportionate landscaping seems like a sensible solution to me, and that’s what’s being proposed.

By keating

Another glitzy CGI ‘masterplan’ that won’t come anywhere near a shovel. This is marketing, not planning. I’d love to see this happen, don’t get me wrong – unlike the usual critics, I think this is laudably ambitious for a site on the periphery of the city centre, and the urban design is certainly a vast improvement on the current Soviet-era scenery – but I can’t believe that this has any realistic probability of finding a "committed investor" in this climate. Manchester has seen a dozen "regeneration frameworks" whiz by.

By Ryan

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