Friday 17 November 2017

Ballymore's Manchester tower set for €32m sell off

The Piccadilly Central development in Manchester would see the construction of the tallest building in the UK outside London if it is completed
The Piccadilly Central development in Manchester would see the construction of the tallest building in the UK outside London if it is completed
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

Sean Mulryan's Ballymore is set to sell off a development site in Manchester that had been earmarked for the tallest residential tower in Europe.

The firm has hired CBRE to bring in bids of around £25m (€32m) for the site beside Piccadilly Station in the heart of the city.

Piccadilly Central as the project is known, has been in the works for more than a decade. The venture was originally a joint venture between two firms but Ballymore took it over earlier in 2007.

The company began preliminary work on the site but the project was then shelved during the financial crisis.

The plans called for a 60 storey, 616 foot tall apartment tower - making it the biggest building outside London and at the time of its announcement the tallest residential building in Europe.

As well as that tower, the three acre site has full planning permission for two adjoining blocks rising to six and 16 storeys and a separate 220-bedroom hotel.

According to industry journal Estates Gazette, which first reported the planned sale, if it is built, the property will have the most luxurious flats in the city.

Prime values in Manchester are said to be around £450 per sq ft. The price of an average prime two-bedroom flat is £250,000, according to CBRE. As a result, Piccadilly Central is expected to have an end value well above £200m.

CBRE's Alistair Chapman said the property was "a landmark building in a premium location on the doorstep of one of the busiest transport interchanges in the North, making it one of the most high-profile prime residential development opportunities in the city."

Ballymore declined to comment on the planned sale.

The company has been active in the regions around Englad in recent months.

In March, the company secured €250m in funding from UK investment group M&G Real Estate to fund the construction of Three Snowhill, a 420,000 square foot office development in Birmingham city centre.

The Snowhill area of the West Midlands city has been dubbed Birmingham's Canary Wharf. Three Snowhill consists of 385,000 square feet of office space and 35,000 square feet of retail and leisure, housing nearly 4,000 workers.

The group sold off the other two buildings with One Snowhill now owned by Union Investments Real Estate of Germany and Two Snowhill owned by M&G.

Closer to home, Ballymore is currently involved in several large developments in the UK and Ireland as well as house-building in Ireland.

It is developing sites at North Wall Quay in Dublin's docklands, dubbed 'Project Wave', in conjunction with Singapore's Oxley.

Debts connected to the group were taken over by Nama in 2010. It has not yet left Nama but is in the final stages of a planned exit.

Nama retains some control of its Irish residential projects but the majority of its large scale projects fall outside of Nama.

Sunday Independent

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