Stephen Beech discusses how his company is accommodating ‘Generation Rent’ and how Manchester holds significant power within the Northern Powerhouse.
Renowned as the world’s first industrialised city, Manchester has made quite a name for itself over the years. Home to 25 Nobel Prize winners, Manchester was where scientists first split the atom, where the world’s first computer was created and where the first public library graced the planet.
Nowadays, Manchester is still a city of innovation and creativity, but it’s the property sector that’s experiencing the largest boom. Competing on both a national and international scale, Manchester is now welcoming more and more ‘Generation Rent’ newcomers, who are attracted by the cheaper living costs and healthier work-life balance than is offered in the likes of London.
From the steady collapse of the textile industry to the devastation of the 1996 IRA bomb, Manchester has been through some testing and uncertain times. However, the latter encouraged an ongoing period of redevelopment, bringing a wealth of leisure, business and living facilities to the city centre. Notable examples include the £650m MediaCityUK development, NOMA and the upcoming £800m Manchester Airport City.
Manchester is growing at a phenomenal rate, with the population rising at three times the national average from 6000 to 25,000 since 2001. Despite this, the city still has one of the lowest levels of housing stock in the UK and with more and more young professionals making Manchester their new home, the demand for rental property is astronomical.
A rapid increase in rental property demand doesn’t have to mean a decline in quality. From the leading regional business quarter of Spinningfields to the trendy Northern Quarter, renowned residential property developer Beech Holdings is meeting this demand with an influx of modern, energy efficient developments across the city centre, aimed at both the national and international young professional market. The company’s niche lies in the developments that it chooses, solely focusing on disused heritage buildings that are currently lacking a suitable purpose.
Beech Holdings founder Stephen Beech bought his first property back in 2001 – 174 Acomb Street in the popular student area of Rusholme. Immediately let to four international students, this small but significant venture led to the birth of Beech Properties – a local student property agency with a portfolio of 100 properties.
The success of the company grew and grew, with Stephen’s 76 Burleigh Street property winning the Energy Efficiency Awards ahead of John Lewis and Costa Coffee.
Fast forward to 2017 and Beech Properties sits alongside Beech Holdings, Manchester Apartments and Beech Design & Build – a group of companies that collectively employ over 100 members of staff.
Beech Holdings is the residential development arm of the four businesses and first came to light with the regeneration of 90 Princess Street – a former derelict heritage building that was transformed into 35 modern, low carbon apartments. The development is on target to achieve the highest BREEAM rating for a mixed-use building in the UK.
Numerous developments are underway, including the regeneration of Mindel House and 11 Bloom Street – two former Victorian warehouses set to be transformed into 78 green, high-spec apartments. If plans are passed, a vibrant mural of the late Tony Wilson will feature on the side of Mindel House.
Further developments include 40 Little Lever Street in the vibrant Northern Quarter area, 2 Waterloo Street – a former 1880s warehouse – and WestPoint – the first new-build venture by the company.
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