A privately-owned retail park in Manchester city centre looks set to be snapped up by the council in a deal that could pave the way for the prominent site to be transformed in partnership with Manchester City’s owner, Insider can reveal.
A report recommending that Manchester City Council should approve a proposed bid to acquire Central Retail Park from current owner TH Real Estate is due to go before the local authority’s executive on 13 September 2017. It is also requesting the go-ahead to establish a partnership-type arrangement with Manchester City owner Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG) in relation to the future master-planning, use and redevelopment proposals for the site.
Central Retail Park, which is located to the north of the city centre, is a 10.5-acre site fronting Great Ancoats Street between the Rochdale Canal and Old Mill Street in New Islington. It overlooks Manchester’s popular Northern Quarter area.
The report said that Central Retail Park has been an established retail destination in the city since the late 1980s but has experienced a “notable decline” in recent years. After weighing up several development options over the years, TH Real Estate has now concluded that it wishes to dispose of its interest in the site.
The report added: “The site has considerable redevelopment potential and should be positioned as a key gateway into the Ancoats and New Islington neighbourhood. It is the site within the Great Ancoats Street corridor that can make the greatest difference and material improvement to the urban environment within that corridor.
“It provides a major opportunity that must be grasped.”
Manchester City Council already holds the freehold to the site which is subject to a 200-year lease originally granted to Peel Investments, with 170 years unexpired.
According to the report, the Central Retail Park site “offers the potential to expand the delivery of residential and associated mixed-use development to ensure this part of the city continues to become an established neighbourhood of choice for those individuals and families who wish to live and work in the city”. It is the council’s intention to bring forward a new development framework for the site by mid-2018 which would seek to promote:
- A comprehensive, planned redevelopment of the entire site,
- The creation of a new, high-quality predominantly residential-led mixed-use neighbourhood,
- High-quality design that promotes low-carbon outcomes and, in terms of residential development, provides for a housing offer that broadens and deepens the existing city centre offer,
- Increased permeability through the site via the creation of high-quality dedicated pedestrian routes from north to south, and
- Enhanced public realm and landscaping.
Following approval of this development framework, it is then proposed that the onward regeneration of the site would be brought forward in partnership with ADUG and/or other development and investment partners.