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Singer Harry Styles Debuts In Commercial Property At Oak View's New Manchester Arena

Harry Styles in 2012, but the mop crop hasn't changed.

Manchester's decade-long property boom has tempted a number of celebrity locals to return as property developers. Now Harry Styles follows cricketer Freddie Flintoff and football’s Gary Neville into the bear pit of Manchester real estate. It will be his commercial property debut.

Styles, the mop-topped songster who made his name with One Direction, is to invest in Oak View’s new £350M Manchester arena.

The arena, named Co-Op Live following a 15-year, £6.3M-a-year naming deal, won planning permission in September and is due to open in 2023.

Styles, who grew up in the commuter town of Holmes Chapel in nearby Cheshire, will be actively involved in the development that will provide seating for 23,500 and become the UK’s largest arena, a statement from The Co-Op said.

Styles will have a particular focus on fans, unique premium and hospitality areas, and artist spaces. There are no details on the extent of his investment.

“It very much feels like coming home,” Styles said. “I was drawn to this project on every level, from the opportunities it brings, to the contribution it will make to the city, and most importantly, that it will allow even more live music to thrive in Manchester. It’s just another sign that this amazing city continues to grow.”

Styles should beware of the city's property scene: Both Flintoff and Neville have found it unusually robust, and not always a pushover for celebrity participants.

Styles joins a project that has attracted fierce controversy, including opposition from city centre landlords and developers and the operators of the existing city centre arena, who together are contemplating a judicial review of the decision to grant planning permission.

So far Styles' property activities have been restricted to the residential sector: After selling a Los Angeles house for £1.7M less than he had hoped, he has been reinvesting in London real estate, acquiring three houses on the same road, Hello Magazine reported. The suggestion is that he plans to combine the £15M purchases into one mega-mansion.