Office block to be turned into apartments

5 OCTOBER 2015 – It comes after 25-27 Cross Street was sold to Beech Properties, beathing a new lease of life into the building. An office block above a Pret A Manger will be turned into homes.

25-27 Cross Street, which has stood largely vacant for a number of years, was sold by Savills Manchester on behalf of a private investor to Manchester-based Beech Properties.

Four floors of the building above the Pret A Manger store are now set to be converted into 27 one bedroom apartments.

The 7,000 sq ft property previously had consent for eight apartments and is outside Manchester’s exemption zone for permitted development rights (PDR) office to residential conversion.

It means Beech Properties isn’t required to submit a planning application to convert the block into residential living space.

Ed Rooney, Director in the Savills Development team in Manchester, said: “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.”

He added: “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, so this development will give it a new lease of life.”

Trevor Adey, Planning Director at Savills Manchester, said: “Currently, the prior approval rules are time limited and are due to come to an end on May 30 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.”

He added: “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.”

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