Vita picks Manchester for first co-living block
Vita Group is due to start on site next year at Union, its first co-living scheme which will replace a previous proposal from Allied London at Water Street.
Designed by Denton Corker Marshall, the 32-storey tower is on the site previously earmarked by Allied London for two 36-storey buildings, Nickel and Dime, aimed at the PRS market. The Nickel site was sold to Vita in May this year.
Vita is planning to submit a planning application next month, with a view to starting on site in mid-2020, and complete by 2022.
According to Vita: “Union will apply the customer-focused and community-led approach that underpins the success of Vita’s other residential brands” and will “set a new quality benchmark for city centre living”.
Union is set to be made up of 388 flats delivered in two, three and four-bedroom cluster apartments as well as studios. There will be four floors given to amenity space, part of the ethos of co-living which is to encourage a sense of community. The development will be car-free, with “generous cycle provision”.
Construction is already under way on the basement.
Speaking to Place North West, David Ancell of Vita Group explained why the developer was now expanding into co-living market.
“As a business, we like to look to areas which are under-served and which we’re not seeing done right yet.
“Student accommodation standards have gone up, there’s a lot of investment in PRS, but in the middle there’s something missing.
According to Ancell, the target occupier audience is “graduates just out of university, bar workers, the life blood of the city who are currently unable to live anywhere near where they work, living in shared accommodation on the fringe of the city, taking up housing stock which could be better used for families.
“We did a lot of focus groups and research into the demographic, average salaries, and exploring why people live where they live. It’s largely down to still wanting to be sociable as the social group post-university starts to disperse, and also affordability. We thought there must be a middle ground where you can deliver affordable units in the city centre, but create a well-managed ecosystem and shared amenity.”
Vita has been prolific in its roll-out of its other residential brands, such as Vita Student, however Ancell said Union would expand across the UK “gradually. We want to get the first one done and learn from it.”
Ancell was unable to confirm the exact rent for when Union opens in 2022, however said “there will be a range of room types, some of which we’re ensuring will be priced for people working at a salary of £21,000, which is the average graduate starting salary in Manchester.”
Ancell stressed the project is not aimed at students. “We want this to be somewhere residents are proud to call home, and feel like they have moved on from student living.”