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Manchester-Leader

The city centre is seeing 11,000 flats constructed in 41 schemes, say Deloitte.

New research shows that Manchester is one of Europe’s fastest growing cities. The annual Deloitte Manchester Crane Survey reveals that city centre apartment building has maintained per-recession levels of construction for the second year running. The city centre is seeing 11,000 flats constructed in 41 schemes, say Deloitte. Meanwhile, as much as 1.5 million sq ft of office floor space is also being built in the city centre.

The rash of skyscrapers – Deloitte say that six towers above 25 storeys are now under construction – is changing the city for ever. However, Simon Bedford, partner at Deloitte Real Estate, dismissed concerns that the surge in apartment building was damaging the character of the city or making the city bland. “Manchester’s skyline is transforming. There are 40 or more schemes on site, and they are all different, and the idea that Manchester will end up looking homogenous is one I totally refute,” he said.

“We’re seeing national and international designers all putting their mark on the city.”

However, Bedford concedes that some neighbourhoods may be experiencing rapid change. “There have been concerns about the character of places like Ancoats, the gay village and the Northern Quarter, but that surely is what the city is like, it is moving on and change is a constant,” he said. Twenty new residential schemes started construction on site in 2017, just two less than the record-breaking 22 schemes the previous year. The annual survey reports a 60% increase in residential units under construction from the previous year.

The 11,135 units currently being developed represents the third year of sustained growth for the region despite increasing uncertainty in the market as a result of Brexit negotiations and rising construction costs. The report also noted major schemes breaking ground in the office sector. Six new developments brings the total office space currently under construction to over 1.5 million sq ft. This includes Circle Square (526,000 sq ft across two buildings) and Landmark (178,000 sq ft) both having begun construction in 2017.

The 973,780 sq ft of office space delivered in 2017 represents an increase of 75% on 2016 figures. Cranes were also visible over the Manchester hotel sector which saw a return to positive growth in room delivery following a minor slump after a year of peak delivery in 2015 (638 rooms). Three hotel completions in the city centre include easyHotel’s budget Bradley House (115 rooms), Motel One’s second opening on Cross Street (302 rooms) and StayCity in Gateway House (182 rooms).

“Manchester has firmly established itself as one of Europe’s fastest growing cities.

“Backed by significant investor confidence, a strong business community, and an influx of new talent, the demand for property, particularly in the residential market, has never been more evident,” Bedford said.

“We’ve reached the point where Manchester should be judged by different criteria from other UK regional cities. Manchester is now in a different league, genuinely competing with other European and international cities,” he said.

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