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Perfect Pandemic Storm Helps Manchester's 4.4M SF Carrington Scheme Get Liftoff

Carrington Gateway, a 212K SF development of six units by Himor on a 19-acre site at Carrington, Manchester, due for completion in the first quarter.

Himor is to boost the commercial element of its 116-acre Manchester city-fringe development site at Carrington Village as attention turns to the improved post-pandemic appeal of out-of-town floorspace.

A new application from Himor for Carrington Village, close to the A6144, A1 and Manchester Airport, increases commercial floorspace by 196K SF and reduces housing provision by 128 units.

The application, which was prompted by the realignment of an access road, predates the coronavirus crisis. But the approval by Trafford Council planners comes at a timely moment for out-of-town development. Not only is the pandemic prompting occupiers to consider out-of-town locations less reliant on public transport, but the crisis has also shown the scope for more urban logistics floorspace to meet online retail demands.

The Government Property Agency is already considering a spoke-and-hub model with more emphasis on out-of-town premises, React News reported.

Separately, occupier consultancy DeVono Cresa said it is advising a number of clients on crystallising their real estate strategies and all avenues are being looked at, including a review of business locations.

“The coronavirus experience has exposed an inherent vulnerability for city centre offices and whilst technology has provided a safety net, the short-to-medium-term aspiration to de-hibernate and return to work may never be truly realisable within a single-site urban location,” DeVono Cresa Head of Agency Chris Lewis told Bisnow.

Carrington Village is part of a wider redevelopment of the 1,600-acre former Shell petrochemicals site.

The original 2017 planning permission was for 725 homes and 490K SF of employment floorspace.

Development has already commenced on an early commercial phase of 219K SF.

The new application approved by planners includes 320 homes and 668K SF of employment floorspace.

"It is anticipated that subsequent phases will seek to deliver further employment development on the brownfield land south and east of the application site (south of the A1 road), together with the potential for a new strategic road, providing significant improvement to the strategic highway network,” a report to councillors said.