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Go Portugal (Street) As Manchester's Next Big Thing Kicks Off

Portugal had a strong start to the World Cup — drawing with Spain, and due to face Morocco Wednesday. But should Manchester's property industry be cheering another Portugal, meaning the cluster of streets and low-rise buildings east of what will become Manchester's main international rail gateway at Piccadilly?

As developers begin site clearance, Portugal Street East's chances look good.

Ronaldo Portgual football
Ronaldo, Portugal's big World Cup hope?

Cristiano Ronaldo, former Manchester United star and Portugal's No 7, may or may not be about to return to Old Trafford.

But one thing is certain: The city's Portuguese prospects have never looked brighter, with hopes that Portugal Street and the cluster of largely anonymous streets around it could be on the verge of becoming Manchester's Next Big Thing.

Developers Aecom Capital and Olympian Homes have applied for permission to demolish Rammon House, Portugal Street East, in a move that literally clears the way for two residential blocks of 16 and 20 stories. 

The proposal comes ahead of the appearance of Manchester City Council's Portugal Street East strategy document, approved at a council executive meeting in March but still awaiting publication of the final version.

Rammon House, Portugal Street East, Manchester
Rammon House, Portugal Street East

The £150M Aecom/Olympian development is the first of a wave of schemes that could eventually deliver up to 3M SF of offices and 4,900 new homes in the immediate Piccadilly neighbourhood. Nearby U+I's £800M Mayfield development is also proceeding fast.

The application comes as leisure and retail developers sniff out opportunities in the area for 500K SF of retail, leisure and amenity space. Businesses including the John Milligan-linked craft outlet Creative Trade are known to be looking at prospects in the neighbourhood.

Work on the largest of the Framework Document's allocated sites — Plot A, on Portugal Street East itself and Heyrod Street — was listed as due for start on site in the third quarter.

This coincides with the planned completion of the demolition of the 1950s block at Rammon House by the end of August. The building has been largely empty since 2015.

The vision for the Portugal Street East Masterplan is to shape and realise the ambition to regenerate and transform the neighbourhood surrounding the Piccadilly train station and create a sense of place for the area.
The successful delivery of the masterplan will create a new, vibrant mixed-use, pedestrian community, which complements the arrival of HS2 and strengthens Manchester’s Eastern Gateway. The strategic regeneration framework "is in the process of being finalised... and is expected be published in June 2018" a document submitted along with the application stated.

The proposals have been welcomed. "It is for important if Manchester is to grow into a sustainable international city that we have different districts [which] all contribute something different, and this is going to be the one for those businesses and residents who need to live near major international gateway. It's great for the breadth of the city," Cushman & Wakefield Development and Planning partner Caroline Baker said.

A planning application for the towers on the site of Rammon House is expected later this summer.