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.

Union InternalsAccording 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.”


Your Comments

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Redevelopment is fine but does it really have to look so shockingly bland?

By Acelius

So boring compared to the Nickel proposal

By Steve

Looks fine but this site should have a signature building which makes a statement. Very average.

By Elephant


By Anonymous

Bland AND tacky comments so far – this is going to be good.

By daveboi

It’s like deja vu all over again.
Another day another box

By Sue Denim

Everyone knows that cladding is the most important part of any new building. The fact that they haven’t chosen multicoloured panelling arranged in a random pattern with crazy random fenestration basically means that this design should be thrown in the bin.

By Internet Cladding Enthusiast

How incredibly narrow minded to set the target audience at “young graduates”. Does this mean they will turn others away ?

By Joe

It’s like dejavu all over again.
Just another dull box. Why do modern buildings have to be so boring to look at?

By Sue denim

@Internet Cladding Enthusiast – that is not what anyone is saying at all. I am referring to the original Nickel and Dime designs which were a lot more interesting. No one is expecting a Foster or Hadid in St John’s, just something that is interesting to the eye. This is not.
@Joe – as the article explains, it is not just aimed at graduates…the CEX of Via explains that in his quotes and mentions others such as bar staff…read the article!

By Steve

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