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  • A Manchester regeneration specialist has swerved into the city centre office market with a pledge to "do something cool."

    Regeneration specialist, Capital&Centric, better known for large-scale residential schemes like Kampus, paid more than £5.5m for the 22,000 sq ft block at 15 Quay Street.

    The swerve comes as brokers predict a busy autumn quarter for the city centre office market, with good second-hand floorspace facing growing demand but shrinking supply.

    The off-market deal from a private individual reflects a net initial yield of 5.75%. The move represents a change of direction from Capital & Centric, which has so far steered clear of traditional city centre offices.

    The building is partially let to Jelf Insurance and Uniregistry, a web services provider. One floor of 3,949 sq ft remains vacant. C&C purchased the building in just five working days. The building was acquired with cash funds.

    Tim Heatley, founder director at Capital&Centric, said: “We have a diverse appetite when it comes to new opportunities. Essentially, our only parameters are whether there is value to add and if there is an opportunity to do something cool.”

    Heatley says the move into traditional city centre offices completes a full-house of property projects for the developer behind the £250m Kampus apartment scheme at Aytoun Street.

    “We have delivered, or are currently on site with, every major property use; hotel, residential, office, leisure and industrial. In many respects the acquisition of 15 Quay Street is unsurprising, it’s a building in a fantastic location, with potential for C&C to add value though our approach to design and knowledge of the Manchester office market,” he says.

    “As a regeneration focused developer this isn’t the sort of opportunity that you’d usually associate with Capital&Centric but we can apply our skill set in diverse investment and development scenarios plus we are always looking for opportunities to expand our portfolio.

    "By pro-actively managing the building through a number of initiatives, we are confident that we will further enhance the offering at 15 Quay Street.”

    Commercial Properties acted on behalf of Capital&Centric. Goodall Investments acted on behalf of the private investor.

    The buy comes as Cushman & Wakefield publish data suggesting a strong end to the year for city centre office deals.

    In central Manchester, second quarter take-up was 284,497 sq ft taking the first half total take-up to 492,730 sq ft, a 17% increase on the first half of 2016.

    There were 68 transactions in the city centre in the second quarter with five transactions at over 10,000 sq ft. High profile lettings were concluded to Weightmans and WeWork, both at No 1 Spinningfields and Distrelec at Two St Peter’s Square.

    Rob Yates, partner and head of office agency at Cushman & Wakefield in Manchester, said: “Looking ahead, there are a number of potential larger transactions in the pipeline which suggest total take-up for 2017 will exceed 1m sq ft for the fourth consecutive year.

    “Manchester is continuing to see strong levels of demand across the city centre from both existing occupiers and inward investors.”

  • All apartments put up for sale last weekend in Capital & Centric’s grade two-listed Crusader mill in Manchester city centre were reserved by owner-occupiers, equating to a potential sale value of more than £7m, the developer has said.

    Capital & Centric released a tranche of 20 flats for purchase at an open-invitation event on Saturday 15 July, attended hundreds of people. By lunchtime all were reserved, and a further 10 were released, which also sold. Flats started at £165,000.

    The developer announced last month that all of the 201 apartments planned in the mill conversion and its extension would be sold only to people who planned to live in the properties, rather than overseas investors.

    Capital & Centric acquired the 200,000 sq ft cluster of mill and warehouse buildings on Fair Street, Chapeltown Street, Congou Street and Baird Street off-market in late 2015. In summer 2016 it secured planning permission for a scheme designed by Shedkm that includes 201 apartments, with 126 apartments in the existing mill and a further 75 apartments in an adjacent new 10-storey building.

    Some of the mill buildings are linked, forming a central courtyard, which will be landscaped as part of the scheme.

    A start on site is expected in September, with the first 126 loft apartments ready by summer 2019.

    Adam Higgins, co-founder of Capital & Centric, said: “We knew there was a buzz building around Crusader, but we couldn’t have predicted the sheer level of excitement from the people that walked through the door.

    “It was a pleasure to see this beautiful old building alive with people once again – people that ultimately cannot wait to live here and make it their home.  That’s not something I’ve seen in Manchester for a long time.”

    Tim Heatley, co-founder of Capital & Centric, said: “People were queuing from 7am in the morning to make sure they got in first. We’ve not seen that since the pre-recession days of 2007. It shows that we’ve struck a chord with people who really want a piece of Manchester they can call their own.

    “It was awesome to see future neighbours swapping phone numbers and discussing what drew them to the mill. That’s what it’s all about for us. Real people and real communities who care about the places they live.”

  • A developer is promising to ring fence a number of its new flats for buyers from Manchester - to ensure that their property isn’t completely snapped up by overseas investors.

    Competition for flats in Manchester city centre has never been higher with buyers from around the world seeking to reap the benefits of the boom.

    And the M.E.N. reported how demand was so high that flat-hunters in the city centre are being forced to take desparate measures to get their foot on the market.

    One city centre worker, 28-year-old Brin Gleeson, revealed earlier this year how he was forced to bid on a property without having seen it after a year-long attempt to buy a house.

    The investment boom - which has seen property rises exceed growh in London this year - has reportedly seen whole developments snapped up by buyers from overseas, with some choosing to ‘mothball’ properties rather than renting them out.

     

    One company, Capital and Centric, is looking to change all by offering a quota of 20 homes to buyers who are from Manchester itself at its new Crusader Mill development in Ancoats.

    Tim Heatley, from the firm, said: “We are a Manchester company and we have a team of people that is quite tuned in to what is going on in the city.

    “Something that has been clear to us is the number of people that can’t find a place to buy in the city centre - it’s a real shame that people who want to live in Manchester just can’t do that.

    “Instead the flats are going to overseas investors who buy then as some sort of play thing. This just doesn’t create the right kinds of communities, especially in new, hidden areas of Manchester and we want this to be a vibrant part of the city for years to come.”

    Dating back to 1830, Crusader Mill is now the only listed building in the area and currently has several companies working out of it, such as art studio, Rogue 21.

    Work is set however, to begin on transforming the 19th century mill into one of the city’s most sought after developments.

    Comprising 126 apartments, surrounding a large courtyard, it is located in between the quirky Ancoats neighbourhood and Piccadilly.

    Surrounded by independent craft beer breweries and bakeries like Pollen, Tim sees it as a new beginning, much like Northern Quarter 20 years ago.

    Mr Heatley said: “What struck me about this building is that it has really stood the test of time - surviving two world wars it is a testament to Manchester’s spirit.

    “The history here is massive and Manchester is a special city, so we want to give people the opportunity to be part of it, from the very start.”

    The flats will go on sale at an open-invitation event in the historic Crusader mill on Saturday 15 July 2017 from 10am.

    Interested buyers are urged to join the movement and register at www.crusadermcr.com Those attending on 15 July will be able to reserve their plot for a £500 reservation fee.

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