The month in property | August
Splash… Aah aah
Is Urban Splash back? After posting profits of £3m in June this year, the too-cool-for-school developer this month announced two very different new projects. Office Village is a 46,000 sq ft redevelopment at Salford Quays, where in a typically untypical move Splash has instructed restaurant designer R2 to reinvent the space. In Manchester’s Northern Quarter, it has signed a development agreement with Town Centre Securities to turn Brownsfield Mill into flats. About time someone did something here, frankly.
A Lime pickle
Gateway sites are always fun and Liverpool’s Lime Street is set to be closed to traffic for three weeks as Neptune finally makes a start on the £39m redevelopment of the stretch between the Crown and Vine pubs, with a hotel, shops, student living, the usual. There’s been a lot of shouting the odds over design quality – because it’s so nice at the moment, right? Sadly, the Futurist cinema was beyond saving, although there’s better news at the nearby ABC, a site once in the hands of a certain Urban Splash, which Neptune plans to turn into a gig venue.
Yo! Bum rush the show
Yo! Homes has had a planning application for 24 modular flats turned down in Manchester, and after it was recommended for approval, too. Cllr Hugh Barratt dismissed the scheme as “simply like the Japanese have decided to have”, calling for “proper accommodation where people can have a proper life”, while colleague Cllr Basil Curley damned the scheme as elitist. With the first “protest against poor planning” held by Manchester Shield in August, are we entering a new militant era in the country’s most development-friendly city?
Wait Chester minute
Muse cruises on. Not only has the developer signed up ‘magic circle’ law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer at New Baily, Salford city centre (don’t worry agents and civic cheerleaders, it all goes in the Manchester take-up stats), this month it bagged its first tenant at One City Place in Chester, as accountant RSM signed for the 8,116 sq ft top floor. Nice work, but you can’t help thinking Muse will need to land every decent-sized requirement in the city to get the 70,000 sq ft building filled any time soon. Still, if anyone can…
Preston City Council has granted consent for a new indoor market hall, the story coming complete with CGI including ‘ARTISAN’ in big letters. Markets are all the rage; there’s a market hall planned in MediaCityUK’s next phase, and rumblings over what to do with Stockport’s is still taxing minds. At least it’s Nick Johnson’s success with Altrincham rather than Borough Market that’s constantly cited as inspiration. NOMA did a Borough talking-up a few years ago, although that was before the Co-op’s “issues”.
Put up a parking lot…
One of the better CGI releases of the summer has been Bruntwood’s teaser for the hybrid hotel/energy centre/car park at Circle Square. It will weigh in at 430,000 sq ft, include 1,100 parking spaces and 150 hotel bedrooms and has mostly been warmly received by the highly discerning regulars on the Place comments section, which Feilden Clegg Bradley should take as a great compliment. Obviously, someone dismissed it as an “eggbox on a crate” but they do say that great architecture divides opinion.