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  • 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.

  • A Manchester-headquartered property developer has completed the acquisition of the iconic former Littlewoods building in Liverpool and agreed a 250-year lease with the council to create a major hub for film, TV and other creative industries.

    Capital & Centric's land deal also includes an adjacent six-acre development site on Edge Lane.

    The building was constructed in 1938 in an Art Deco style and was used to process the betting slips from The Football Pools.

    Its importance is further highlighted by the contribution made to the war effort when its vast internal spaces were used in the national interest during World War II. At the outbreak of the war, the building's printing presses were used to print around 17 million National Registration forms in just three days.

    Meanwhile, the floors of Halifax Bombers were assembled at the building as well as barrage balloons. Its design was such that it became the nerve centre of MC5, the government agency that intercepted and censored mail to break enemy codes.

    Bomb shelters in the basement still contain artwork and graffiti on the walls dating from the Blitz.

    Tim Heatley, co-founder of Capital & Centric, said: "This acquisition marks an important milestone for us, it is the result of more than five years hard work and the next step in realising our vision for this high-profile site.

    "Liverpool City Council and the Homes & Communities Agency have been very supportive of our plans for this iconic building, which forms an important gateway to the city. We're excited at the opportunity to restore the Littlewoods Buildings and give it an exciting new lease of life that will put it on a national stage and finally give it the recognition that it deserves.

    "Last year we completed the speculative redevelopment of the neighbouring Bunker building, which is now fully let. Bunker has successfully attracted a mix of media and tech companies that will inspire the future of our Littlewoods scheme and we can't wait to get started.

    "Our vision for the site is to see it not just become the heart of Liverpool's vibrant film and media industry, but a draw to companies in this sector both nationally and internationally. We aren't looking for companies interested solely in co-location, but in collaboration, to be a part of a hub that can fully capitalise on Liverpool's world-class offer as a filming location.

    "We are in the last throws of finalising the legal agreements with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority for gap funding to secure the long-term future of this iconic structure. We already have a significant amount of occupier interest which is testament to the standing of the building, given we haven't yet commenced any marketing activity."

    The next phase of development represents a £35m investment from Capital & Centric. Once complete, it is estimated that the project will create in excess of 350 jobs.

    Malcolm Kennedy, Liverpool City Council's cabinet member for regeneration, said: "We're delighted that Capital & Centric have now completed the acquisition of the Littlewoods site. We are well aware of their excellent track record in delivering innovative buildings and I'm sure they will handle this vital piece of regeneration with sensitivity and great imagination.

    "The digital and creative industries are a multibillion-pound growth opportunity for the Liverpool city region over the next decade and this development represents a unique opportunity to further accelerate this sector. The city council fully support the plans that Capital & Centric have drawn up and look forward to working closely with them as the scheme is delivered."

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