Manchester Confidential notes blight of derelict flats


21st of December, 2011 Bookmark and Share
Popular regional magazine Manchester Confidential has published an article by property journalist Jill Burdett which focuses on the issue of unfinished and empty Manchester property – particularly modern apartments in the city centre – despite an apparent housing shortage across the city and the rest of the UK.

Multi-occupancy block Cypress Place was created by Lend Lease Group, formerly known as Crosby Lend Lease, an Australian-rooted development company. It is located in Manchester's Green Quarter, an immense area of contemporary urban development on the northern edge of the city centre, just a few minutes' walk from Victoria Station. It is within easy reach of top Manchester restaurants and many more attractions.

Burdett reports that Lend Lease closed its Manchester property operation before finishing the fit-out of Cypress Place, meaning that many kitchens and bathrooms within its 215 homes are incomplete. Lend Lease Group has also not concluded the development of its waterside Potato Wharf scheme in Castlefield, to the west of the city, with the second of two blocks stalled at a basic stage of construction.

"Leaving a couple of hundred homes standing empty is a scandalous state of affairs in a city where there is a lack of accommodation, especially affordable accommodation," said Burdett. "A quick check shows only 49 properties available under £600 a month [to rent in Manchester city centre] and the lower end is pretty squalid."

Burdett is of the opinion that it will be difficult for Lend Lease Group to find buy-to-let investors or single organisations who would consider acquiring the properties, due to the difficult economic climate – but suggests that the company considers selling the properties to a housing association. Manchester cinemas and other amenities nearby would ensure interest for families, couples and single people of all ages.

At present, however, the company is engaged in working on the Olympic Village scheme in London, taking its focus away from Manchester. Burdett reported that a spokesperson had confirmed there were no plans at present for its unfinished Manchester property projects.

Burdett concluded: "Green Quarter is on the doorstep of NOMA [the new development by The Co-operative Group], which will bring thousands of new workers into the city [...] who would love to live here, but cannot afford £750 a month in rent."

Website: http://www.manchesterconfidential.co.uk/.
Richard Frost
Confidential Publishing was set up in 2003 and its flagship site, ManchesterConfidential.com, has over 100,000 readers and more than 75,000 subscribers. It covers food and drink, news, arts, entertainment, health and beauty, property and business and is aimed at the city region’s intelligent and educated readership. In September 2011, over half a million pages were viewed on the site. The company has won several awards including Top North West Brand in 2008 and One To Watch in 2007 at the How-Do Awards, which recognises local media in the North West. The firm employs almost 30 people across its head office in Manchester, and offices in Leeds and Liverpool.