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214 Storeys Of Confidence In Manchester's Post-Pandemic Residential Scene

Pandemic? What pandemic?

Manchester’s city living sector has picked up where it left off in March, with new schemes, and construction completions in one week helping the market bounce back to a combined height of 214 storeys.

The New Victoria scheme, Manchester, promoted by Muse Developments in partnership with Network Rail and Manchester City Council

There may be issues about rental levels, and concerns that some price brackets are over provided, but confidence in Manchester's post-coronavirus city living scene is undiminished.

A series of completions and new proposals announced in the course of five days adds another 214 storeys of high-level living to the city.

The roster of skyscraper announcements is led by the unnamed long-term institutional investor that has agreed to forward fund the £185M New Victoria scheme.

The project, at Victoria Station, realises a proposal first floated by Vector Investments in 1992, and comes a cool 13 years after Network Rail began efforts to procure a development partner. That the long-awaited scheme should make progress in the difficult post-pandemic world is a sign of investor appetite.

Following the financing deal Muse Developments, in partnership with Network Rail and Manchester City Council, will start construction work on-site in August, with completion due in summer 2023. VINCI Construction UK has been appointed as contractor.

The 1992 plan included a 46-storey "crystal tower" regarded at the time as ludicrously ambitious. The latest New Victoria scheme will include 520 new homes in towers of 20- and 25-storey buildings. The scheme received government backing to unlock the complicated 2.5-acre site on Corporation Street.

“These latest deals highlights investor confidence in our long-term vision to transform an underutilised site,” Muse Development Director David Burkinshaw said.

As part of the wider New Victoria scheme, Muse is also acquiring a second site from Network Rail, where proposals will be brought forward for a 150K SF, eight-storey office building. 

The New Victoria investment comes as a rash of tower plans move toward completion, whilst others make their debut before city planners. Cole Waterhouse’s £72M No. 1 Old Trafford has topped out, adding another 354 units in two towers of 15 and 18 storeys.

Within days the 32-storey Oxygen tower at Piccadilly also topped out. The Russell WBHO scheme provides 372 apartments.

Renaker, which has single-handedly reset Manchester’s expectations on tall buildings, is expected to win planning permission for two 52-storey blocks at Crown Street. The scheme will provide 855 apartments.

City planning officials have recommended approval of the scheme whose residential element will be divided into two phases.

Renaker is also behind a rethink of amenity provision, predicted to be one of the major consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

The developer has launched a 22K SF amenity building, The Club, at the centre of the four towers at Deansgate Square.

Residents now have access to the space, which boasts a gym, a variety of fitness studios, a spa, a 20-metre swimming pool, a five-a-side league-sized sports hall, a tea room with adjoining private dining room, and landscaped roof gardens offering panoramic views across the city. The gym will be operated by TechnoGym.

Contact David Thame at david.thame@bisnow.com.