The sale of 25-27 Cross Street in Manchester will generate 27 new homes in the city centre. Manchester based Beech Properties has completed the acquisition of the upper office floors of the building, which will become an office to residential conversion made up of one bedroom apartments.

The building, which was sold by Savills Manchester on behalf of a private investor, includes four floors above the Pret A Manger store occupying the ground and basement levels of the building and will consist of 27 one bedroom apartments.

Ed Rooney, Director in the Savills Development team in Manchester, commented: “Due to the central location of the site, strong interest was generated by a number of parties. We achieved a figure in excess of the guide price which reflects the increasing demand for well located buildings for office to residential conversion.

“One bed starter homes are in high demand in Manchester city centre, both as starter homes and for professionals who work in the city and want a convenient, central base. The building has stood largely vacant for a number of years, and so this development will give it a new lease of life.”  

Beech Properties benefitted from the government’s permitted development rights, which means that they are not required to submit a planning application to convert the office block into residential living space.

The property is outside Manchester’s exemption zone for permitted development rights (PDR) office to residential conversion. The 7,000 sq ft property previously had consent for eight apartments. Under PDR, developers can convert offices to residential without planning permission.

Trevor Adey, Planning Director at Savills Manchester added: “Currently, the prior approval rules are time limited and are due to come to an end on 30thMay 2016. The rules also require that the new residential use commences by this date.  The Party Conference season could see new announcements to extend this, which would reassure many developers who don’t yet have planning in place and are concerned about hitting the May 2016 date.

“Take up so far has not been as high as many anticipated, which is surprising given the advantages of the prior approval route versus a conventional planning application.  These  include: a fast track application process, reduced cost, greater certainty, speedier decisions, and no affordable housing requirement, which can have a positive effect on viability.  Any extension would give landlords and developers a second chance to benefit from the simpler planning process.”

For further information on Savills Manchester, go to www.savills.co.uk/manchester. To discuss your development requirements, call Ed Rooney on 0161 602 8211 and for planning advice, contact Trevor Adey on 0161 277 7289.

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