Construction boom ‘makes Manchester global city’

Residential development in Manchester has reached its highest level since 2008 with a number of new skyscrapers set to change the landscape of the city centre, according to Deloitte Real Estate’s Manchester Crane Survey.

Added to the ongoing boom in office, hotel and education construction, the sector could help Manchester establish itself as a “global city” according to Deloitte.

“Our latest crane survey results are a reflection of Manchester’s growth and resurgence,” said Simon Bedford, partner and head of Deloitte Real Estate in the North West.

“Construction activity has not just matched those of 2007, it has completely blown those figures out of the water, demonstrating unparalleled scale and volume of development.

“While we cannot be certain how these factors will continue to manifest themselves in the years ahead, there is real cause for optimism and Manchester competing as a global city.”

The survey showed 22 new residential schemes have started construction on site, eight more than the previous high of 14 in 2008.

The annual survey, now in its 16th year, reported 6,963 residential units were currently under construction, compared with the last year’s crane survey of 2,982.

Bedford said: “Our construction pipeline monitors residential development through to 2020 and shows a number of exciting schemes set to evolve the city’s skyline.

“Four towers over 25 storeys high have begun construction, marking a new, exciting era for housing in Manchester.

“One of which, Owen Street, is set to become the highest residential building in the UK.”

The crane survey also identified the trend for major refurbishment office schemes “with eight of the nine new starts being refurbishments.”

The survey said total office space in the pipeline was 1.4 million sq ft of floorspace — a 76% increase on the 10-year average for floorspace under construction.

“The increase in office refurbishment projects comes as developers and landlords maximise the value of their assets in light of a rapidly expanding business community,” said Bedford.

“Twelve per cent of this floorspace is pre-let, and we expect strong occupier demand to continue throughout 2017.”

In the hotel sector, 338 rooms were delivered in 2016 and a further 1,040 rooms are currently under construction in the city and expected to complete this year.

The crane survey suggested that 2017 will see the largest delivery of hotel rooms since data collection for this sector started in 2006.

In education-related developments, construction on 200,000 sq ft has started to add to the 289,000 sq ft currently being refurbished.

Bedford added: “For the first time, Manchester can expect to import more graduates than it exports this year, continuing its positive trajectory of talent retention and helping to grow the city-living market.

“The weakening of sterling and boost of international connectivity via Manchester Airport is also set to provide a fertile environment for potential investors, while the universities are likely to continue delivering further schemes in 2017 as part of strategic repositioning and expansion.”