Realty unveils Oxford Road designs

Yousef Tishbi's Realty Estates says it will submit plans for an 800,000 sq ft mixed-use development on the former BBC site on Oxford Road in July.

The proposed scheme includes leisure, hotel, offices, supermarket, student and full-market residential, non-food retail, as well as associated car parking and extensive landscaping and public realm.

The project team includes architects Feilden Clegg Bradley and Alex Meitlis, regeneration consultancy Adroit Economics, planning consultancy DPP, retail and leisure agent Cheetham & Mortimer, GVA and RGA Consulting on hotel agency, Jones Lang LaSalle for residential and student accommodation.

BBC RealtyThere will also be a civic space for public use for exhibitions, broadcast and cultural performances.

Consent for demolition was granted last month and work is due to start on site by July.
Shahram Sakhdari, head of developments at Realty Estates, said: "Initial discussions with the city council have been extremely positive and we look forward to working with them and other stakeholders prior to submitting a planning application in due course. This is a deliverable scheme, and we look forward to major investment, regeneration and substantial employment creation for local people."

Dr Alexander Roy, head of research at New Economy, the council's policy advisory body, said: "Not only is the former BBC site of great interest to the city, but due to its iconic location, this development could enable it to become the flagship gateway between the city centre and its knowledge base, bridging the gap between the learning corridor and financial and professional companies. Manchester's flourishing media sector will also be able to tap into the corridor's infrastructure, as well as offering an ideal hub for specialist science industries which will enable more interaction and networking between universities and local businesses."

Matthew Brown, architect at Feilden Clegg Bradley, he said: "This is a fantastic brief to comprehensively redevelop the former BBC New Century House and establish a new identity that is expressive of the area's unique cocktail of energies and prominent position at one of the most visible and accessible parts of the city. The scheme is about creating connections and establishing a new locus of working, shopping, relaxing and living at the nexus of the city centre and university cluster. The new masterplan inverts the closed, imposing character of the old BBC complex, opening the site up with new pedestrian pathways and generous open spaces in two levels to enhance the street experience on this critical segment at the beginning of the Oxford Road cultural corridor."

Mark Aylward, planning director, DPP, said: "Quality design is critical to delivering a major investment which will become a landmark on the Oxford Road frontage, and the realisation of several hundred new jobs and much improved street scene and public realm will drive forward the council's long term aspiration for Oxford Road."

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What have Reality Estates actually delivered in the city? I don’t believe this firm are going to do anything other than sit on this site or operate a car park. The BBC selling the building to this firm was surely the worst possible outcome for the city.

As far as the proposals go, they seem devoid of ambition with an entirely predictable mix of student housing, supermarket and budget hotel. This site would have made a perfect home for one of the new University Technical Colleges (UTC); or even a private industry-sponsored higher education facility that the government are so keen to promote. Such a institution would add enormous value to the offer of the Corridor. Probably never even occurred to Reality or their consultants to make contact with likely industry sponsors for such an institution.

By Virtual Reality

Surely if the BBC are selling this then the money should go back to the public, if not where is it going ?

By Simon

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