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Viewpoint - 04/02/2019

The regeneration game

England’s great northern cities are defined not only by their size and own unique strengths, but also by their collective diversity.

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England’s great northern cities are defined not only by their size and own unique strengths, but also by their collective diversity. If the Northern Powerhouse is to realise its enormous potential, it will be essential to combine these individual powers to create something greater than the sum of its parts.

While the Northern Powerhouse initiative is multifaceted, the potential contribution of the property industry must not be underestimated. Cities drive forward enterprise and creativity, and the Northern Powerhouse has an opportunity to build on the rich heritage and diverse culture to create an inclusive urban environment in which all its people can thrive and prosper.

Each city can feel confident about their medium to long term futures, as emerging major regeneration projects offer real opportunities for change, leveraging urban infrastructure projects and advancements in technology as a catalyst for growth and accelerating transformation. Here we review the major projects coming forward across the region.


Knowledge Quarter Liverpool, a joint venture between Liverpool City Council, University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the new Royal Liverpool Hospital, is on track to deliver £2bn worth of investment into the city region over the next ten years.

World-class facilities such as the Materials Innovation Factory, Sensor City and the Bio-Innovation Hub are already in place, while the Royal College of Physicians’ new northern headquarters, The Spine, is one of several new buildings already taking shape at the flagship Paddington Village.

Grade A commercial office space is now at a premium in Liverpool and the City Council is promoting Pall Mall in a bid to satisfy demand. A joint venture partnership with CTP and Kier Property has been formally agreed to deliver an initial 90,000 sq ft phase of the £200m scheme in the heart of the city’s commercial district.


Manchester is benefiting from a wave of inward investment and development. The key is to ensure that the city’s future needs, from homes, visitors and businesses, are fully considered whilst retaining its unique identity.

A prime example is The Northern Gateway, a joint venture between FEC and Manchester City Council which will see 15,000 new dwellings built in the north of the city.

Mayfield is a £1bn regeneration project that aims to transform a previously neglected 24-acre area of the city centre, located around Piccadilly and the former Mayfield goods station.

A proposed decade of change began in the summer of 2017 with the arrival of a street food market and the installation of a tranquil garden and flexible community spaces which reflect the industrial heritage of the area. Mayfield Depot has become a popular venue for cultural events such as the Manchester International Festival.

Lead developers U+I have ambitious plans, including 1,500 new homes and 1.67m sq ft of new office space, hotels, retail and leisure facilities, as well as a new 6.5 acre city park.

Considerable infrastructure improvements are required to improve connectivity within the North West region. However Manchester, being the first combined authority outside London and the first to achieve devolved powers, has the ammunition it needs to drive meaningful progress.


Newcastle Helix aims to bring together academia, industry, business and communities to create a 24-acre global centre for urban innovation in the heart of the city.

The £350 million flagship hybrid project is a joint venture between Newcastle City Council, Newcastle University and Legal & General. Newcastle Helix will ultimately feature 20 building plots, 6 residential plots and create up to 4,000 jobs.

The Biosphere lab facility, Urban Sciences Building and The Core office development are already online, while work is underway on The Lumen, a 100,000 sq ft grade A office building aimed at the science and tech sector.

With practical completion set for January 2020, The Spark is set to follow suit 12 months later delivering the second of the two 100,000 sq ft office buildings.


The regeneration of the South Bank area has the potential to transform the city and will play a critical role in achieving Leed’s City Council’s vision of doubling the size of its economy. It will breathe new life into the city’s former industrial and manufacturing heartland, ensuring Leeds is competitively positioned to capture the next wave of growth.

From a property perspective, VASTINT and CEG have a vital role in this transformation, both overseeing a major development. With a major five hectare Public Park at its heart, the regeneration will see Leeds ‘rediscover’ the waterfront of the River Aire and, crucially, reconnect a number of suburbs and pockets of isolated development activity with the city centre.

HS2’s arrival will act as a major catalyst, albeit the first trains are not due to pull into the city until 2033. In the medium term, the commencement of the redevelopment of the city’s railway station will start to change hearts and minds in Leeds that something genuinely transformational is in the offing.


We're part of a consortium of world-class architects, engineers and surveyors that will develop a new masterplan for Sheffield Midland Railway Station, transforming it in preparation for the arrival of HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail services. The masterplan aims to ensure the city region is positioned to maximise those opportunities of improved rail connectivity.

Sheffield Hallam University has brought forward a gateway site on Sheaf Street, adjacent to Sheffield station. Proposals include a 37-storey development known as Sheaf Tower, incorporating a conference centre, 205 apartments and a 120-bed luxury hotel, which would become the city’s tallest building, if approved.

Heart of the City II, brought forward by Sheffield City Council and Queensberry, will marry striking new architecture with existing heritage buildings to knit together the city centre.

The masterplan outlines the vision for attracting new businesses into the city centre, with new retail space and hotels and leisure amenities to enhance Sheffield’s visitor economy, providing a vibrant mixed-use community.

This article first featured in our Northern Powerhouse Office Market Report 2018/19. Click here to request a copy.



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