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The Clever Whitbread Tie-Up That Gives First Street Another 480K SF Opportunity

First Street, the new 16-storey block at plot 9a

One of the least-loved hotel buildings in Manchester is to be replaced by a 480K SF mixed-use development, thanks to a clever and timely tie-up between Premier Inn owners Whitbread and Ask Real Estate, in a joint venture with the Richardson family and Patrizia.

The Deansgate Locks Premier Inn, whose unlovely exterior is sometimes described as resembling a low-security prison, is to leave the site, releasing its prominent location, facing the Mancunian Way and linking First Street to the Oxford Road science corridor, free for redevelopment. The hotel will relocate to a new tower on plot 9a at First Street.

The move gives the consortium which owns First Street an opportunity to continue developing as the final plots at the existing 20-acre site reach maturity.

It also means the First Street partnership can expand into different property sectors without limiting its options.

In a sign of the new freedom, it is to press ahead with speculative development of the predominantly office-occupied 16-storey block at 9a. Premier Inn will relocate to the top six floors of the 160K SF building, which will start in summer 2019 with completion due in early 2021. The hotel will benefit from a separate entrance and lift core.

A planning application for the former Premier Inn site redevelopment is expected to be submitted to Manchester City Council in May.

“With a projected lack of Grade A office space in the city from 2021 we will be bringing forward much needed, high-quality and flexible office space to a buoyant market and are delighted to announce Premier Inn as the building’s first tenant," Ask Real Estate Managing Director John Hughes said.

An updated masterplan for the First Street area was approved by Manchester City Council last year and will see Ask Real Estate, the Richardson family and Patrizia develop up to 1M SF of offices at First Street.