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Case Study

Trio of prime city centre sites successfully sold

JLL was appointed to market three prime city centre sites on behalf of MSREF – unquestionably the best regional development opportunities to come forward since the recession – with the intention to dispose of its ownership.

The Owen Street site, a rare opportunity for a comprehensive development of a large city centre gateway site, also presented the potential for a residential led development of significant proportions. Currently used as a surface car park, the site extends to 3.66 acres with a historic planning permission for a development of 5 buildings ranging from 14-49 storeys, totalling 1094 residential units, 100 services apartments, a hotel, office accommodation and 813 car parking spaces.

The second site, 'Origin', occupies a prime position at the corner of Princess Street and Whitworth Street with all of the city centre amenities in close proximity. This key development site, with extensive basement works undertaken, extends to just under one acre and benefits from planning permission for a mixed-use development of three buildings incorporating 180 residential units, offices and a 210 bedroom aparthotel.

The Renaissance Manchester, situated on Deansgate is widely regarded as one of the city's finest redevelopment opportunities. The site totals approximately 1.88 acres and benefits from historic planning permission for re-development of the site to construct four buildings comprising 248 residential units, a hotel, office accommodation, retail and leisure uses, along with 600 car parking spaces.

Despite the site presenting a rare Manchester city centre development opportunity, JLL had to overcome a number of issues that prospective purchasers would encounter, and develop recommendations on how these could be resolved before the site went to market. These included:

- A client seeking fully unconditional offers;

- The short head lease interest on the Renaissance site (91 years) and a restrictive long underlease to Manchester City Council for the basement car parking;

- The lapsed planning consents on Renaissance and Owen Street;

- Stigmatism associated with three stalled development sites (the sites were taken into NAMA following West Properties collapse);

- Technical issues including the lack of warranties for the historic basement works undertaken on the Origin site.

JLL's extensive efforts to market the site successfully attracted interest from more than 65 parties, leading to 51 formal expressions of interest from national and international organisations.

Through a complex and rigorous selection process – due to the clients' aim of a swift and unconditional sale – LSE listed developer Urban and Civic was successful in unconditionally acquiring the Deansgate and Origin sites for £22.45 million, and completed the deal within four weeks of submitting an offer.

North West-based developer Renaker Build unconditionally acquired Owen Street site and completed the deal four weeks ahead of JLL's schedule.

The client MSREF praised JLL for securing unconditional sales within impressively short timescales and at a significant uplift to its value expectations.

Drawing upon the expertise of the commercial development, residential, capital markets and hotels & hospitality teams, the deal showcased the full breadth and capability of JLL's multi-disciplinary capacity, and the ability for JLL to work collaboratively across business teams and geographies (the Middle Eastern, Asian and US offices were all involved) to surpass clients' expectations and add value to their investment.

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