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Football-Friendly Flood Dribbles Into Birmingham

The Digbeth site acquired by Brendan Flood's Cole Waterhouse

Cole Waterhouse, the developer controlled by former Modus boss and Manchester United Class of ’92 partner Brendan Flood, has acquired its debut Birmingham site.

The business acquired the 3.5-acre Upper Trinity Street site in Digbeth from five landowners, and is now working with Birmingham City Council to draw up residential plans. Barton Wilmore is advising on what could be a £260M development.

A full planning applications in expected in spring 2020.

“Digbeth is an area steeped in culture, character and history,” Cole Waterhouse Chief Executive Damian Flood said in a statement. “We are working closely with the council and Digbeth’s existing community to create a scheme that enhances its surroundings in the spirit of Digbeth and builds on the success of existing redevelopments in the area, notably The Custard Factory.”

The move comes weeks after Oval Real Estate revealed plans for a 45-acre site bounded by High Street Deritend, Milk Street, Digbeth Branch Canal and Liverpool Street in Digbeth. The plans envisage 3.76M SF of new development including shops, offices, hotels, apartments and student housing along with leisure and entertainment uses.

Cole Waterhouse is developing in Wembley, North West London and around its Manchester base where the 214K SF No. 1 Old Trafford scheme will provide 211 units in two main buildings 15 and 18 storeys high. Early works have now commenced on site and 80% of tower one has been sold after launching the scheme globally with broker IP Global. This tower is set to complete in early 2020.

Flood, a director of Burnley FC, is one of the most colourful figures in UK real estate. He was managing director of Manchester-based retail developer Modus Properties, one of the darlings of the noughties boom that became a victim of the global economic downturn and banking crisis of 2008.

He then formed RED Partnerships in 2010, which with partners Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs played a key role in putting together the £200M St. Michael's development in central Manchester. His role in that scheme is now much reduced.

Flood is chairman and chief executive of higher education provider UCFB — which offers university degrees in the football, sport and leisure industries — and has a campus at Wembley Stadium. It launched its campus at Manchester's Etihad in 2016 and also has a post-graduate partnership with Real Madrid. Disputes over rival football academies have soured relationships with Giggs and Neville.

Brendan Flood is listed at Companies House as having significant interests or control. There are two major shareholders including Real Estate Capital, which is in turn owned by Flood and Cerberus Property Holdings, with Cerberus itself owned by Damian and Clare Flood. The second major shareholder in Cole Waterhouse is Shepperdess Weston, which is owned by Roderick Priestly, chief operating officer at Cole Waterhouse.