Good response to Lendlease’s Potato Wharf in Manchester

KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 2): Real estate multinational company Australia’s Lendlease has sold 50% of the third and final phase of its Potato Wharf project in Manchester, UK. The final phase was launched in July 2017, said Lendlease Development head of residential Richard Cook.

Located in the historic Castlefield district of Manchester, the third and final phase of Potato Wharf comprises 191 units of 1- and 2-bedroom apartments tagged from £199,950 (RM1.09 million).

The first two phases of the development, consisting of over 200 homes, have been sold out earlier. The development is expected to be completed in 2019. The GDV of the project is £50 million.

Cook told that the developer is thrilled to be returning to Manchester with Potato Wharf, providing residents in the city an opportunity to buy high-quality homes in a central city location.

“Castlefield is a special place, combining an intimate village feel and iconic canal-side living with the excitement and convenience of a major city. It is packed with architectural heritage, fantastic culture and exceptional venues to eat and drink — all on the doorstep of Potato Wharf,” he said.

Surrounded by public gardens and communal green space, the apartments at Potato Wharf will be able to enjoy views of the canal and the Manchester city skyline. The Castlefield district is renowned for its village atmosphere and boasts museums, galleries and cultural sites, including the Museum of Science and Industry as well as the Castlefield Urban Heritage Park.

One may wonder why the development is named Potato Wharf. Cook explained that the project name is derived from the city’s history — in the 1830s, before the railway was built, potatoes had been transported to Manchester via the canal and unloaded from the barges.

According to Cook, Potato Wharf is one of the best-connected new developments in the city, located close to the Deansgate-Castlefield Metrolink stop, from which residents can reach Manchester Piccadilly train station in 11 minutes and then take a two-hour train ride to London.

The development is also a 10-minute walk from the Central Business District of Manchester, which is home to major financial institutions such as HSBC UK, Barclays and The Bank of New York Mellon.

Having developed several projects in Manchester for the past 15 years, Cook thinks there is still room for growth in the UK’s second-largest city. Past developments by Lendlease in Manchester include No. 1 Deansgate, The Hacienda and Green Quarter.

“An average of 15,000 homes are being built every year in Manchester but 35,000 are needed, so the housing market here is rather undersupplied.

“Moreover, the [Manchester] city centre housing price growth is predicted to be at 28.2% for the next five years compared to the entire UK’s average of 13.1%. Also, rents in Manchester are predicted to increase over 20% by 2021.

“The growth of Manchester, in terms of population and GDP, has outperformed other cities in the region and in the UK since the global financial crisis in 2008. It is not a bubbling property circle but is underpinned by the growth potential in Manchester,” Cook said.

Manchester was ranked as the UK’s most liveable city in 2017 by the Economist Intelligence Unit, a position it held since 2011. Beyond the undersupply of homes in the city, Lendlease is also targeting parents who are looking to buy homes for their children studying in Manchester.

“Manchester is also well known for its education and employment opportunities. The city is home to the University of Manchester and University of Salford — the former is ranked 34th in the World University Rankings.

“The student population of Manchester is about 100,000 and there are many parents buying [homes there] for their children to pursue their studies in the city,” said Cook, adding that 15% of the students are from non-EU regions — majority from Southeast Asia.

Moving forward, Cook said Lendlease is looking to rebalance its property development portfolio to have 65% of its developments in Australia and the rest in other key gateway cities around the globe.

“London is always our major focus — we are looking for more opportunities there as well as in Birmingham and Manchester. Recently we have also landed two projects in Milan, Italy,” he added.

This story first appeared in pullout on Feb 2, 2018. Download pullout here for free.

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