The month in property – January
Pic of the bunch
Early contender for “Most ‘Archetypal Developer’ Photo of the Year”, from Property Alliance Group accompanying their deal at Trident. Note the subconscious dress code, common to most professions in one form or another, at play here. Good luck to new hire Nick Mullins and promotees Rob Peil, Frank Taylor and Alex Russell, anyway. Should be a big year for Alliance.
All the world’s a stage
It’s great to see progress on the £26m Shakespeare North project in Prescot, where Arup was appointed as theatre consultant, while AECOM, already on the team doing M&E and cost consultancy, was picked to do acoustics. Hats off to Knowlsey Council, who, as with so many local authorities, are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. “Why spend all this money on something in Prescot?” Perhaps so that the griping types can’t sneer “there’s nothing in Prescot” and “they’ve no ambition”?
Everything’s gone green
Few things set pulses racing like the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, and the GMSF has now become a hot issue in the mayoral race, with each candidate taking a different position. The issue, predictably enough, is the in-out fate of green belt, almost as tiresome a sticking point as “is English football held back by too many foreigners”. GMSF has raised particular ire in Stockport, where a cluster of Lib Dems tried for the second time to yank the borough out of the whole thing. Err, that’s not going to play well in Albert Square, and indeed Churchgate House, home of the new mayor. Back in your box.
Poynton in the right direction
The South East Manchester Multi Modal Strategy’s been around since Reagan was in the White House – seemingly, at least – so it’s perhaps fitting that this surreal month in politics saw approval for the £30m Poynton relief road. One of the issues holding up this particular element of the SEMMMS plan was the presence of the Woodford aerodrome, but things have snowballed since BAE Systems sold the site in 2012. The decimation of advanced manufacturing in the UK has its upsides after all.
All Greek to me
Planning permission has been granted to Realty Estates for a backpacker’s hostel at 57 Princess Street, Manchester – the kind of youthful, European-feeling thing the city could do with alongside the bling. Offices haven’t fared well at 57, so why not? It’s also been good to see Greek restaurant Rozafa going well on the ground floor here, especially for the loyal fans long awestruck by the crazy décor and “questionable” jokes shared with punters.
Life’s a Beech
The whole office-to-resi/Permitted Development Rights thing took a while to get going in the North West, but there’s a few developers making merry with it these days. Liverpool’s refined commercial district’s gone all fancy hotels and flats, while in Manchester it’s been Beech Holdings seizing the opportunity. In January it swooped on 11 St James’s Square, adding to a PDR roster that includes the likes of 25 Cross Street, 105 Portland Street and Mindel House. Anyone else fancy a go?