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U+I Take Modest Mayfield Gamble

Mayfield Park, from Hoyle Street

After 10 years of debate, and three of public consultation, the Mayfield development consortium led by U+I is to dip its toe into the frothy Manchester speculative office scene. But only its toe. The first application is to build just 70K SF of more than 800K SF of envisaged office floorspace.

The Mayfield development on the site of Manchester’s former London Road station was first floated in 2009. Then it was billed as a potential Whitehall of the North.

Today the consortium of U+I, Transport for Greater Manchester, government-owned British Rail residuary body LCR and the city council has submitted paperwork for a nine-storey, 70K SF office building overlooking a 6.5-acre park. There will also be a 545-space multistorey car park. Work on-site will begin in early 2020.

A separate application for a larger flagship 12-storey office building is expected to be made this autumn.

The total 10-15 year development of the entire 30-acre site will create 1,500 homes, 800K SF of office space, a 650-bedroom hotel, and retail and leisure space.

In the last 10 years the project’s end value has rocketed as Manchester land values have soared. Once described as an £850M scheme it is now branded as a £1.4B transformation.

U+I was chosen in 2016 as preferred developer of the 24-acre Mayfield site by the landlord consortium including LCR and Manchester City Council, ahead of bids which also included Urban & Civic and a consortium formed by Carillion, Ask and Patrizia.

“The last three years of consultation, planning and opening up Mayfield to a variety of community uses and major events has reintroduced Mancunians to a forgotten corner of the city with huge social and economic potential,” U+I Chief Development Officer Richard Upton said.

Studio Egret West is the overall master planner for Mayfield and landscape architect for Mayfield Park and has designed an application for the first-phase multistorey car park. Bennetts Associates is designing the office building. Deloitte Real Estate is the planning consultant.

Is the south-eastern quadrant of central Manchester the next obvious focus for the tech and creative sectors? Or could Mayfield be about to scoop corporates? Join the conversation at Bisnow's MOST: Manchester Office Sustainability and Tech event on 6 November