Gary Neville’s £200m Manchester scheme scores with investor

by | 05 Aug 2021 | Hotel Projects, Projects

Relentless, the Manchester United legend’s development company, has announced a joint venture with global investment firm KKR to deliver its ambitious St Michael’s project.

One of the UK’s most high-profile property schemes has taken a major step forward.

St Michael’s set for kick-off

Footballer-turned-pundit Gary Neville’s development company Relentless has entered into a joint venture with global investment firm KKR to deliver its £200m St Michael’s mixed-use project, which aims to reimagine a centrally located plot on Jackson’s Row just off the grade I-listed Manchester Town Hall. Initial work onsite for the commercial phase of the project is expected to start towards the end of 2021.

According to the latest plans lodged with Manchester City Council, St Michael’s features 200,000 sq ft of offices, 181 luxury apartments, restaurants, a pub, new public space, a 191-room five-star hotel and a 29-room boutique hotel. The five-star hotel would incorporate a spa, a ballroom, conference facilities and multiple F&B venues, and sit within the lower levels of a new 40-storey skyscraper with apartments above, while the boutique hotel would occupy the historic former Bootle Street Police Station.

It was originally envisaged that Manchester Reform Synagogue would also take space within St Michael’s, but TOPHOTELNEWS understands that a deal has now been agreed for it to relocate elsewhere.

Relentless and KKR team up

Relentless and KKR said that the joint venture would combine the former’s local knowledge and operational expertise with the latter’s capital and resources to create a best-in-class office space and new public realm.

The first phase will have a build period of approximately two years, and involves transforming Bootle Street Police Station, refurbishing the existing Sir Ralph Abercromby pub and creating substantial public space through the development of Abercrombie Square and a 20,000 sq ft roof terrace overlooking Manchester Town Hall and Central Library. Later phases will deliver the five-star hotel and residential skyscraper; the development team indicated that work on this is expected to start in 2022 ‘once the hospitality sector has recovered from the impact of the pandemic’.

Neville said: “The team has worked throughout lockdown to bring this project forward. St Michael’s has been challenging but with the support of KKR we are looking forward to delivering this exciting project in Manchester. The Relentless team welcomes KKR to Manchester and can’t wait to deliver what we know will be an exceptional space for our city.”

KKR’s debut in Manchester

KKR’s first real estate investment in Manchester has been made through its US$2.2 billion European real estate fund KKR Real Estate Partners Europe II.

Charles Tutt, head of UK real estate at KKR, said: “This is a unique regeneration project in a vibrant city. We have worked very closely with Relentless and the project team to get to this point and we look forward to delivering this exceptional development for the benefit of Manchester as businesses seek high-quality office space to meet their ever-evolving needs. This investment reflects our strategy and focus on investing behind best-in-class office projects and alongside expert local developers.”

Council bosses express support

The scheme has received full planning permission from Manchester City Council.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Navigating the complexities of this development within the constraints of the site has undoubtedly been challenging, but we know the outcome is going to be truly transformational for this part of the city centre – with world-class placemaking key to its success. This type of investment is the precise antidote we need in the city to balance the economic impact of the last year.”

Joanne Roney, chief executive of Manchester City Council, added: “Manchester is a city of ambition, and we expect that same energy from our developers. St Michael’s is oozing ambition – from the low-carbon office space to the public realm. This is the sort of development that cities crave and the sort of investment that is vital to our swift economic recovery following the pandemic.”

The team behind St Michael’s

Ex-Manchester United star Ryan Giggs was previously working alongside Neville to develop St Michael’s. However, he’s no longer involved after deciding to exit the scheme earlier this year.

The team currently working to bring the project to life includes Hodder + Partners (architect), SOM (architect), Planit-IE (landscape architect), Bowler James Brindley (interior designer) and Zerum (project manager). Ken Shuttleworth’s Make Architects left in 2017 following a public outcry against its proposals, which involved demolishing several heritage assets and creating two towers rising 21 and 31 storeys high.

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