Manchester Council set to buy Wythenshawe Shopping Centre
Manchester Council has announced that it is planning to buy Wythenshawe Shopping Centre from St. Modwen as part of its strategy for wider regeneration.
The Council announced via its website that it is, “making a strategic acquisition in the heart of Wythenshawe town centre that consolidates its wider land ownership to explore options around investment and regeneration.”
The strategic acquisition of St Modwen’s 350,000 sq ft civic centre, is part of a wider “transformational” redevelopment of the town centre.
St Modwen is currently owned by Blackstone Group following a £1.3 billion takeover of the housebuilder last year. It owns the long leasehold interest in Wythenshawe Civic Centre, which sits at the heart of around 40 acres that is owned by the city council.
On Friday the local authority reported that it had reached an agreement with St Modwen for the asset. This forms part of its planned regeneration project of developing around 1,000 homes.
“We know that residents have wanted to see more investment in the centre for some time, so it’s fantastic to get the ball rolling on what will be a transformational redevelopment for the centre and for local people,” said Cllr Gavin White, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and development.
“We’ll be undertaking some consultation exercises with local people in the coming weeks and months to share our vision for the town centre and get invaluable feedback from the very people who use it regularly.”
Wythenshawe shopping centre
The acquisition of Wythenshawe Civic Centre “will create significant revenue in the short-term as well as providing a strong platform for investment in and redevelopment of the district centre in the medium to longer-term”, as reported by the council’s executive.
Due diligence will be undertaken over the coming weeks and the acquisition could be complete before the end of the summer, according to the city council. The size of the deal has not been disclosed but the executive report states that the terms agreed are “at a level which works for MCC and can be supported on a red book valuation basis”.
Wythenshawe lies south of the city in a location very close to Manchester Airport. The town centre is very dated and needs a major overhaul. This is seen as part of a significant regeneration initiative.
Plans also include developing the local hospital as well as building several new homes to help ease the demand of Manchester’s growing population. There are also plans for creating employment and cultural space alongside the public investment.
The redevelopment of Wythenshawe has been planned back in 2018 and has been reported in the Manchester Evening News at the time.
A spokesman for the council reported in 2018, “The centre’s proximity to the airport and the employment opportunities that will be generated by its continued expansion provide an important economic driver that will help to secure investment in the centre and support the development of residential uses as well as improved retail, leisure, and commercial uses.
“Initial discussions have been held with both St. Modwen and Wythenshawe Community Housing Group and a process will be established to guide development in the centre, with full engagement of local members, businesses, and residents in the process.”
Wythenshawe is Manchester’s largest district, a massive housing estate that was started in the 1920s intended as a garden city where people could be rehoused away from industrial Manchester. In 1920, town planner Patrick Abercrombie identified the area as the most suitable undeveloped land for a housing estate close to the city, and 2,500 acres of land were purchased.
Levelling Up Fund
Manchester City Council is also planning to bid for cash from the government’s £4.8bn Levelling Up Fund to help finance the scheme. The Fund has been designed to support town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects, and cultural and heritage assets across the UK.
Savills and 5plus Architects are advising the city council on its proposals, in conjunction with Solid Ground and Amion Consulting.
A spokesperson for St. Modwen said: “As St. Modwen’s strategy has shifted in recent years to focus on logistics development and housebuilding, we are happy that Manchester City Council will be the custodians of Wythenshawe Town Centre moving forward.
“We see a great future for the area and look forward to seeing Wythenshawe thrive as part of longer-term regeneration plans.”
Transformational change in Manchester
Over the past 20 years, Manchester has seen some significant transformational change. This regeneration was initiated in the 1990s in the wake of the 1996 IRA Manchester bombings. The regeneration of this city has been an unequivocal success. The city now boasts the highest skyline outside of London. More importantly, the housing market has delivered exceptional returns over the past 20 years.
“New research by Plumbnation has compiled data from cities across the UK, looking at what the average house price is now and comparing this to 2002. The research, which is based on figures from the Office for National Statistics, ranked the percentage difference for each city to reveal where property prices have gone up the most.”
“Coming out on top was Manchester, where the cost of a property back in 2002 was just £48,845. With the standard cost of a home now £210,647, according to ONS, this means that house prices have gone up by £161,802 in the last 20 years.”
The performance of Manchester’s property market is nothing short of exceptional, even when factoring in inflation. “Using the average annual rate of inflation, the cost of a property in Manchester in 2002 would equate to just £84,549 today,” reported Manchester Evening News.
Manchester regeneration moving forward
The plans for Wythenshawe shopping centre and the town centre in general, are just a small cog in the wider development plan for the city. Looking ahead there are some substantial regeneration plans in the process.
The real transformation of Media City started in 2007. Led by the Peel Group. Media City in Salford has become a hub for technology, innovation, and creativity. It has become the home of the BBC and ITV. There are now several building on its skyline which exceeds 20 levels. The scheme has created 1,000s of jobs. Moving forward, Media City will continue to receive inward investment and has already been hailed as one of the most successful redevelopment projects undertaken in the UK.
New Islington is one of Manchester’s regeneration projects. Urban Splash won the contract in 2000 to overhaul the area.
The effect has been Phenomenal. It now is seen as one of Manchester’s trendy neighbourhoods. This is a far cry from previous generations where the area was left derelict. The regeneration includes a range of new homes. Additionally, the area incorporates social housing, encouraging a diverse population. In addition, New Islington is popular with independent cafes and bars, creating a thriving social hub. The Sunday Times even voted the neighbourhood as one of the 20 places to live in the entire country.
This project started in 1997. Since then, the area has grown rapidly and is nicknamed ‘Canary Wharf of the North.’ Today the regeneration continues. Many businesses are keen to move into the space due to its reputation as a world-class business hub. It is estimated that the regeneration work to date exceeds £1.5 billion.
NOMA covers a whopping 20 acres and costing over £800million, the scheme has transformed the heart of the city.
The plans for NOMA were announced in 2011, and work is set to be completed in 2029. Incredibly, NOMA has brought over 5000 jobs into Manchester, with over 550,000 sq ft of office space. The area boasts 1 million sq ft of premium property and 200,000 sq ft of hotels for the many visitors that the city attracts.
As a company, we are very optimistic about the Manchester property market. We believe that the city will continue to perform very well for many years to come.
There is a rising demand for younger generations to be part of this vibrant city. This growing population will continue to have a positive impact on the city’s housing market.
This is why we have a number of property investments concentrated around Manchester. We believe that one development stands out. This is Urban Green in Manchester. This development offers all that young professionals want from a rental home. The new development sits on a park with views of the Manchester skyline. Importantly the development is only 15 minutes from the centre of the city. Yet it offers affordable prices for investors seeking a high investment yield. You can access further information about this on our appropriate developments page.