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First Street in Manchester

A high-profile opportunity to invest in net zero commercial office space in the heart of Manchester City Centre.

First Street will deliver modern and next generation net zero commercial office space ahead of regional and national targets, within the heart of Manchester’s City Centre. This is an opportunity for an investment partner to secure a longstanding relationship with an established employment-led and mixed-use scheme.

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Location:

Manchester

Investment type:

Capital investment - real estate

Sector:

(Greener buildings, Offices)

Project promoter:

Ask Real Estate Limited in partnership with their majority shareholder, Richardsons.

Scale:

£100 million

Planning status:

Detailed planning obtained

Time to Final Investment Decision (FID):

0-6 months

Ummar Hanif.jpeg

Ummar Hanif

Senior Investment Specialist

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Sector and market opportunity

Manchester has continually been the strongest market for office space of all the UK’s regional cities, with a take-up of over 60%, more than any other regional city in 2020.

The city has a 10-year average take-up of over 1.1 million square feet per annum. Office take-up at the First Street scheme has been in the region of 320,000 square feet since 2014.

Location

First Street is located where Manchester’s Innovation District (ID) and the city’s traditional business core and fastest growing district meet, where ambitious science and innovation projects are leading the way.

The Oxford Road corridor is a close neighbour, putting First Street at the very heart of ID Manchester. To the north is Manchester Central, part of the city’s Conference Quarter, which together with its adjoining commercial activities delivers a combined economic impact in excess of £100 million per annum.

Connectivity

Excellent public transport exists with extensive links throughout Greater Manchester and the North West. 6 million workers are estimated to be within a 1-hour commute.

For First Street, this connectivity includes 2 mainline train stations, a tram network, and numerous bus services within a short walk. First Street is well-positioned to take advantage of good cycling provision, a free shuttle bus, and access to the motorway and road network.

Access to major national and international cities is good, with journeys to London taking 2 hours 30 minutes by train. Manchester International Airport is only 20 minutes away.

Local talent and skills

As an employment-led scheme, 4,000 people currently work at First Street with a target of 10,000 on completion of the entire development. The site is next to the largest university campus in Europe, with a student body of almost 80,000 and a significant number of high-quality graduates each year.

There is a workforce of more than 60,000 within a five-minute walk, with capacity to increase this towards 80,000 people by 2022.

Research and expertise

Ask’s advisers on the First Street scheme are CBRE, JLL, and OBI, who bring market knowledge and expertise to ensure that the design of the building is fit for the modern occupier.

They also enable Ask to track supply and demand within the office occupier market in Manchester and target specific office requirements.

The Design team provide invaluable experience in the delivery process and ensure the scheme is built to the highest quality.

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) highlights

Mechanical and electrical (M&E) advisers Cundalls are currently finalising the design for performance modelling in accordance with version 1 of the NABERS UK guide for performance. This will identify key performance risks and detail the recommended steps for First Street to achieve a minimum rating of 5.5 stars through the NABERS UK design for performance process. Critically, this will ensure that the scheme is net zero carbon in operation.

The building will also achieve a BREEAM excellent rating and an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of A.

First Street is a truly sustainable destination. The brownfield site has no ecological value and the estate has formed a tenant-led Sustainability Group called “Sustainability 1st” for businesses to share individual targets and agree a site-wide strategy for the estate.

Promoters and partnerships

Ask delivers innovative mixed-use regeneration projects. Their portfolio comprises 3m square feet of floorspace with an end value of £800 million. Most recently, Ask completed a 166,000 sq ft Grade A office building at 100 Embankment in Manchester City Centre.

Since the early 1970s, Richardsons have developed over 17m square feet of floorspace and built a strong reputation for high quality real estate throughout the UK.

Local and national government support

A strategic framework with Manchester City Council oversees the delivery of the First Street estate, which is governed by a formal board that meets bi-monthly.

To support inward investment into the First Street scheme, Ask also works closely with MIDAS on behalf of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

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