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£1bn City Housing Investment: UK Scale Game Changer

Jill Burdett on a huge joint venture between MCR and Abu Dhabi United Group

Published on June 24th 2014.


£1bn City Housing Investment: UK Scale Game Changer
 

MANCHESTER City Council and Abu Dhabi United Group, the owners of Manchester City, have formed a joint venture partnership that will transform the housing offer in the city.

Up to £1billion of investment is available over the next decade to build 6,000 new homes for private rent in a sweep from Great Ancoats Street out to the Etihad Stadium.

If Manchester gets it right in terms of design, space, management and community it could set the standard for the rest of the country in terms of rental property.

It’s a massive coup. A game changer on a national scale.

If Manchester gets it right in terms of design, space, management and community it could set the standard for the rest of the country in terms of rental property.

There is also the provision for other multiple investors to be involved.

The deal has been a long time in the offing with whispers of large scale Middle Eastern funds first emerging at the end of last year. That it’s only being announced six months later shows the complexity and hard work needed to make it happen.

Chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein has played a major role. As one insider said: “He’s not just swum the Channel to bring this one off – he’s swum the bloody Atlantic.”

While people may feel he can be out of touch with some city issues, as readers have pointed out on these pages, Bernstein certainly has flair in pulling off these macro-investment deals.

The Town Hall is understandably chuffed.

Sir Richard Leese said: “The planned transformation of the eastern edge of the City Centre is the single biggest residential investment Manchester has seen for a generation. Building thousands of quality new homes will be a fundamental part of our growth story and will deliver significant socio-economic impact.  We look forward to working with Abu Dhabi United Group to create a world class exemplar of regeneration." 

Ashton Old Road - New HousingAshton Old Road - recent housing

So what will it mean?

The partnership will be called Manchester Life and development will happen in phases with the first phase of 830 homes being built across six sites in Ancoats and New Islington.

Working out from the city centre into areas which have already had significant public and private investment makes sense, not least because the city now owns the sites in question.

Initial designs are already being drafted and construction could start as early as next year if plans are completed and approved with a newly formed Manchester Life Development Company overseeing the build. Such large scale development is likely to be the catalyst giving new businesses the confidence to open in these areas.

The vast majority of the new homes will be for private rent, aimed at the growing legions of 25-39 year-olds unable to get onto the housing ladder but wanting not just a decent place to live but a great place to live in a new city neighbourhood. Manchester is predicted to create 50,000 new jobs by 2023 and the people that fill them will need accommodating.

There will also be the creation of another company Manchester Place.

This is a partnership between the City Council and the Homes and Communities Agency which will work to put sites together for future phases of Manchester Life.

The aim is to develop areas strategically, shaping places and creating neighbourhoods for long term success rather than allowing small pockets of development.

The last boom and bust showed how isolated one gilded tower can look when there is still wasteland all around.

As well as new standards of design and efficiency Manchester Life is aiming for new levels of management of the completed developments with the sheer numbers involved allowing efficiencies of scale.

They are also pledging to employ local people and develop apprenticeships.

Its early days, massive numbers and giddy talk and the real test will be in the design and delivery of Phase 1 and whether it does re-define the UK rental model and create communities where people aspire to live long term. There’s a whole debate to be had there on what this investment should look and feel like.

That it can be talked about at all is down to Man City owner Sheikh Mansour’s commitment to Manchester and investing in the wider community.

Marty Edelman, board director of the Abu Dhabi United Group.

He said: “Given Abu Dhabi United Group's existing long term commitment to Manchester and the Council’s economic growth plan, it was a logical decision to look at ways to create a commercial partnership with the city to deliver its wider residential strategy. We are effectively investing in the opportunities and positive circumstances created by our joint investments to date. We are extremely proud of the resulting Manchester Life joint initiative that will complete the transformation of the Ancoats and New Islington areas."

East Manchester - McFc Campus

East Manchester - MCFC Campus

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said:

”This investment is great news for Manchester. It will lead to thousands of new jobs and homes and will help secure the economic recovery across the city and beyond.

“It is a vote of confidence in northern England and our long term economic plan. It shows global investors want to come to all parts of Britain and is a sign of the potential that exists to create a Northern powerhouse to take on the rest of world.”

Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, Lord Deighton said:

“This partnership is not only fantastic news for the city of Manchester, but can serve as a model for how successful private investment in housing follows when local government creates the right conditions. I would like to congratulate both Manchester City Council and Abu Dhabi United Group for another world leading collaboration following the work they have already undertaken together in East Manchester and look forward to Manchester Life breaking ground next year.”

You can follow Jill Burdett on Twitter here. 

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72 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

ShybaldbuddhistJune 24th 2014.

Wow! What brilliant news! As a lifelong red I have to hold my hands up and admit city have the best owners around. They have been brilliant for Manchester. Wonder if they'd chuck some money change at Piccadilly Gardens?! I would like to know what's happening to the 13,000 long term empty houses in Manchester too. If we can get these back onto circulation it would change many people's lives. Maybe city's owners could cut a deal to buy them for £1 each and refurbish them?

AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

It's very difficult to bring empty properties back into use. The council have legislation to enforce but not the resources to implement it. Essentially people who own the properties can live them lying empty.

AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

'private rent' - so they're building hotels essentially

2 Responses: Reply To This...
RavaJune 24th 2014.

Ridiculous!!

LouAJune 30th 2014.

We need more affordable flats for people to buy to help them get onto the housing ladder - not more private renting to force young people to pay older peoples retirements!

AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

Hotels.

Matthew NicksonJune 24th 2014.

How can a socialist council do business with this regime? I'm appalled and disgusted by the city council for this. The need for housing is there but taking this blood money from these dictators is no answer. tinyurl.com/lc7fd68…

10 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

Slave labour. I presume you don't shop at Primark?

Matthew NicksonJune 24th 2014.

No I don't. I also don't knowingly buy any Nestle products either and try damn hardest to buy ethical products and as local as possible. I live in Criumpsall and my favorite beer is Holts. Pretty local that. If i did though this would still be wrong. This (as pointed out below) is not social housing there will be no fair rent.

RavaJune 24th 2014.

You are a very ill informed, misguided person. This will be fantastic for the area. Bore off with your 'socialist views' It's not 1983

AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

They only said they were socialist to get your vote Matt.

JonathanJune 24th 2014.

Do one Trotsky

Matthew NicksonJune 24th 2014.

I never said I was a commie! And Ravi I am very well read thank you very much. I don't doubt the benefit to East Manchester. I challenge the ethics of going into a partnership with a Company whose own record at home and his countries is poor on human rights. Especially as it's a labour council. I think that deserves and answer and I'll be writing to Sir Richard to get one. If that's ok with you lot

rinkydinkJune 24th 2014.

Matthew my dear, you come across like a crashing bore

Matthew NicksonJune 24th 2014.

My dear rinkydinky sorry if pointing out corruption and inhuman working conditions bores you. just to make sure I'm really dull you could read the violation of human rights by the UAE as documented by Amnesty International Yawn... www.amnesty.org/…/uae…

Poster BoyJune 25th 2014.

Matthew; will you also be writing a letter to the lead singer of Echo & the Bunnymen...?

AnonymousJune 30th 2014.

Hi Matthew. I'm sorry you have had to put up with these comments from people who choose to disagree with you. I've put up a couple of innocuous comments in the past myself and it's amazing how some people go off on one. I may not agree with everything you say but I stand by your right to say it. Stick to your guns. Best to ignore them and they get fed up and go away eventually.

Carl PriestleyJune 24th 2014.

so instead of addressing the real problem and building affordable housing to buy they are going to build yet more rentable housing at what will probably be massively over inflated rates, tieing the target demographic 25 - 39 yr olds into renting and ensuring they are never able to claw together the deposits to actually buy something themselves. excellent.

9 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

A lot of people don't want mortgages. A lot of people i know don't want the hassle and expense that comes with repairs and maintenance. They prefer to rent. The council needs to tackle the tens of thousands of long term empty houses in the region. £1bn worth of investment is a great thing that will lead to jobs and more investment.

AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

Sorry Carl but the best way to being rents down and reduce housing cost is to build more houses. This can only be a good thing in helping people rent at a reasonable price or buy if they choose to.

Carl PriestleyJune 24th 2014.

I accept that some people dont want mortgages but is that becuase its so difficult to buy in the first place? If not and they just don`t want the "hassle" or they dont want to have to wait to get a new build with all mod cons then I feel that is a very short sighted view. Essentially theyre thinking whats easiest now and not what is best in the long term. Any long term renters are going to get to retirement age having paid out vast sums of money to line someone elses pockets with nothing to show for themselves. Whereas people like myself who have bought a cheap house in one of the less "desirable" areas (with a view to selling and progressing to a better house over time) can only see their investment grow and will have paid off their mortgages by retirement leaving them with a large pot of money to help support them when theyre on a pension or to leave as an inheritance for their families. for example the house I bought was a wreck but after spending just under 10K on refurbishment I now stand to make 20K which can then be used as deposit on the next step up the housing ladder. It might take me longer but eventually I will have a beautiful modern house with all the mod cons. difference is I will own mine. I agree that £1bn of development is a great thing but it could be put into building affordable housing to buy . Still leading to Jobs and still leading to further investment. and when I say affordable housing I dont mean £200K + for a 3 bed on a shared ownership deal ( because anyone who signs up to those is a mug) , believe it or not it is perfectly achievable to build houses for re-sale for less than £100K. Alternatively existing housing could be rennovated and refurbished at a fraction of the cost of new build.

Stephen HarwoodJune 24th 2014.

"Sorry Carl but the best way to being rents down and reduce housing cost is to build more houses." They wouldn't build these as a business opportunity if their aim was to reduce rent incomes to reasonable levels - no doubt they've calculated maximum projected rent prices before investing their cash.

Stephen HarwoodJune 24th 2014.

I rent and I want a mortgage - but with rents as high as they are I never have enough money after paying the basic cost of living to save for a deposit - fixed term NHS contracts don't help either!

Carl PriestleyJune 24th 2014.

stephen couldnt agree more with your first comment. There is no chance in hell that the purpose of this development is to reduce rents. the abu dhabi/ manc council partnership will have looked very closely at projected rents over the next 10 or 20 years including factoring in the inevitable increases in cost of renting to ensure that they achieve maximum profit before agreeing to go ahead with the deal. Anyone who thinks the purpose of this development is actually to reduce rent must be smoking some very funny green stuff. In regards to you wanting a mortgage my best advise would be to do what I did. get rid of your rented property ( obviously harder to achieve if you have a missus or kids too - but then simply moving area within manchester could save you a few quid anyway) , move into a low cost house share for a year ( mine was £200 per month including bills saving me £400 per month)and put the money you save into an isa. once you`ve got around £7K start looking at properties around north manchester/ tameside ( its as close to the centre as south manchester , has a much improved and continuing to improve public transport system and really isnt as bad as those in south manc would lead you to believe). Find repossessions if possible but not essential. start with a 2 bed terrace, rennovate it at as low a cost to yourself as possible ( i.e. do as much of the work yourself as possible) , in a couple of years time you sell it and upgrade to another run down property ( 3 bed with garden ) using the "profit" from your first house to fund the deposit for the next one. Its worked pretty well for me so far and all ive had to do is put up with the short term discomforts of a house share and a few late nights of decorating and DIY after work to get the house in a decent condition. however the upshot of this short term sacrifice is that the long term benefits to me and my family are now paying fruitition. In 40 yrs time my daughter will have a tasty inheritance becuase ive put in the work now. I actually plan to buy a couple more houses in tameside just to rent out using the same basic principles outlined above.

Stephen HarwoodJune 24th 2014.

Thanks for the helpful advice Carl, appreciated!

ChesbuttJune 24th 2014.

Nobody said the PURPOSE of the development is to reduce rents, just that it will (or at least might) have that effect by increasing supply. Basic bloody economics.

AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

"I actually plan to buy a couple more houses in tameside just to rent out using the same basic principles outlined above." Nice one Carl, that will help with the problem of elevated property values that is making it hard for people like Stephen to get onto the property ladder. I don't think.

AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

They should never have brought in right to buy. Social housing was there for a reason and they didn't build anymore housing. Private renting is very precarious no security, often properties in a bad state of repair. The private sector should be regulated so people who have to rent and afford to live in decent accommodation. This will never happen as it brings in to much money.

15 Responses: Reply To This...
Ghostly TomJune 24th 2014.

Right to buy was fine, gave people the chance to own the houses they had lived in for years. The problem has been that, for whatever reason, very little social housing was built to replace the ones that were sold.

Eggy Eggy Egg EggJune 24th 2014.

That was part of the point of RTB, meaning that it wasn't 'fine', but was a popularly acceptable way of getting rid of council houses. Rather naive.

Ghostly TomJune 24th 2014.

But RTB gave people the chance to own their own home, nothing wrong with that. Certainly not naive. The problem was no one built houses to replace the ones that were sold. @eggy

EGGY EGGY EGG EGGJune 24th 2014.

Yes there IS something wrong with that when it results in there being less council houses, as RTB was INTENTIONALLY meant to achieve. I'm not party political but it's a matter of record that the government of the time wanted to marginalise subsidised housing.

Ghostly TomJune 25th 2014.

Still nothing wrong with people owning their own homes. They should have built more to replace it.

Weby72June 25th 2014.

GT - local authorities were banned by central government from reinvesting RTB receipts into the building of new social housing to replace the housing stock lost. As EEEE says, it was a deliberate policy to run-down the supply of social housing, in order to 1) shackle people to mortgages, and 2) propagate increased profits for private landlords Regardless of whether it's a 'good thing' to be able to buy one's own council house, RTB was set up as an entirely ideological measure.

Ghostly TomJune 25th 2014.

@weby72... None of which makes people buying their own homes a bad thing. Owning a home is a good thing. Renting is money down the drain. Better to have a mortgage that will be paid off and you own the house than to be shackled to eternal renting with no chance of buying. The problem was, as I have said repeatedly, no one built replacement houses. When did buying a home for yourself become bad? Private landlords are an entirely different matter....

EGGY EGGY EGG EGGJune 25th 2014.

Hello brick wall, mind if I bang my head against you? Oh that's right, I already am. Tom, nobody said that people owning their own homes is in itself a bad thing. But making it happen by selling off homes paid for by the public to house poor people IS a bad thing. Building replacement social housing was never going to be a part of the deal with RTB. This is why it is a bad thing.

Ghostly TomJune 25th 2014.

@eggy...no need to be rude, I understood you point perfectly. And I also said many times that more housing should have been built to replace the ones sold off. 4 times in fact. How many times do I have to repeat it until you understand? Please read the posts carefully and think before you reply. I am entitled to my opinion that owning your own home is a good thing and have said (5th time now) that housed to replace the ones that were sold should have been built. I am not responsible for national or local housing policies in the 1980s. Please direct your complaints to the relevant bodies. I'm not the person your need to convince.

Eggy eggy egg eggJune 25th 2014.

You didn't understand my point, which was that the unmitigated loss of social housing was an INTEGRAL part of RTB, which is why your view that was 'fine' was mistaken.

Ghostly TomJune 25th 2014.

My opinion that people have the right to buy the house they have lived in for years is every bit as valid as yours. The problem with the policy was that the sold houses were not replaced.my parents were delighted, after years of renting, to be able to buy. Please remember that in a democracy people have a range of opinions and all are valid.

Eggy Eggy Egg EggJune 25th 2014.

I wasn't challenging your right to an opinion, and stating that right is the standard cop-out for anyone who can't argue their way out of a paper bag.

Ghostly TomJune 25th 2014.

I have explained my position on this five times but you seem to want me to support yours. Sorry that isn't going to happen. People have been given and still have the right to buy the home they live in and until a government decides otherwise, it will remain so. The problem was, as I have now patiently explained six times, that they didn't build replacement houses. If you do not like this please contact the relevant authorities. I am not the relevant authority, just someone who used the word 'fine' which you seem to object to. I have finished on this thread now. If you want the last word that's fine with me.

Eggy Eggy Egg EggJune 25th 2014.

Why thank-you, my dear broken record. For future reference, repeating yourself doesn't further an argument. Bye now.

Ghostly TomJune 25th 2014.

You could do worse than take your own advice

AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

While Houses in East Manchester are still WELL under the £100k... anyone who can afford to rent and really wants to buy can..! They have probably had their eyes on the 'popular' South Manchester areas... and missed or will miss a fantastic opportunity to become an owner/landlord in the once 'shameless' East. Soon to be 'Mini Dhabi'... copyright lol Proud East Manchester resident.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

I rent because I can't afford to buy and I don't have any spare money to save for a deposit. I live in North manchester not the leafy suburbs of south manchester! Your comments are ignorant and ridiculous.

AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

Ignorance can be defined as - a state of being uninformed (lack of knowledge). Please see link below which may help you out: www.gov.uk/…/help-for-first-time-buyers…. Kind regards from Anonymous East Manchester Resident.

AnonymousJune 25th 2014.

'Mini-Dhabi'? How about 'Moston-bique'? I'm fine with foreign investment just as long as it doesn't come with hidden costs, both in the short term and long term, that will have a negative impact on the people, the city and the country.

SAZKJune 28th 2014.

Even with help to buy it would take a while for someone like me, renting and on a pretty rubbish wage, to save for a 5% deposit. I know renting is throwing money down the drain but there isn't really another option!

RavaJune 24th 2014.

I can't believe the negativity of people on here. I live in that area and I think it's amazing. (not least for the value of my property) It's so good to see the Sheik putting in money to completely rejuvenate a run down area. People who say the City is his toy, might shut up now.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

I doubt he's doing it for the people of Beswick or Bradford though kid.

Poster BoyJune 24th 2014.

On the face of it, great news. The City Council should be applauded for leveraging additional investment from ADUG into the wider east Manchester area. Behind the froth and spin of the press release however, the writer would have been better served identifying the actual amount of money to be invested and the extent of ADUG's commitment. It is very definitely not (as George Osborne has said) an investment of £1 bn by ADUG in Manchester.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 30th 2014.

Very much like the rhetoric behind the Co-op's "£800million" NOMA "investment" whereby they are merely the majority land-owner with their sole financial commitment a new HQ building they couldn't afford. The fact the Co-op (after council support with considerable public investment) then sold it's freehold and that of the new "public square" off to Deusche Bank and a Chinese Investment Bank also smells funny.

Stephen HarwoodJune 24th 2014.

I'd like to know how land and rent monopolization by local government and a Middle Eastern private company for profit is a good thing? As for the multiple independent investors involvement - I wonder how many council/ADUG members will have shares or other forms of involvement in these companies...follow the money trail! Another big money spinner for the council is all these small apartment units generate a lot of council tax per sq feet compared to traditional 2/3 bed housing units. I suppose that's good if they reinvest it into local amenities and affordable housing to buy, but there's no guarantee of that happening. The only major thing that I can see benefiting the Manchester public is the temporary job creation and apprenticeships - that's if these go to local residents.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
rinkydinkJune 24th 2014.

Councils are corrupt, society is corrupt, people are corrupt. This will always be the case because greed is a human trait. Maybe some do stand to benefit from this through inappropriate business connections. It is still bloody good news!

Matthew NicksonJune 24th 2014.

So Rinkydinky it's ok to take the money because it's money? That's interesting for modern democracy. I thought we were trying to challenge the banks and such?

Eugene Spain)June 24th 2014.

As a Red born and bred,I take my hat off to the owners of City.I am green with envy that City have owners who want to help my city and WE have owners who want to rape my team and dissappear over the horizon.Good luck to Sheik Mansour and more power to your elbow.What a refreshing change to see owners who want to help the local community.I am not so naive as to think it is out of the kindness of their hearts.It is obviously a business decision.but so what? They can spend their billions anywhere,but they have chosen my beloved Manchester,good luck and thank you.(It is quite funny,because it was Ancoats and Beswick where I was born and raised,in those days very few city fans in the area,but so what well done Sheik Mansour.

Andrew WigleyJune 24th 2014.

This is what they said about city challenge 20 years ago it won awards but now its a shit tip ran by nepotistic social landlords JOBS FR RELATIVEs rather than places for people.

1 Response: Reply To This...
GimboidJune 24th 2014.

Are you talking about Hulme? You really think it's a shit tip? I'm sorry if your experience with your housing association has embittered you to life, but Hulme is a great place to live. Shame you don't appreciate it, many people would love to live there. Feel free to swap with someone living in north or east Manchester if you hate it so much.

MarkkennedyJune 24th 2014.

I grew up there..unless you walked them streets.feeling like you had no future.no prospects.no hope. jusk kicking a can.... dont even bother posting your plastic socialist rant.. the east mancunian .red or blue.is very feckin happy.believe me. id love utopia.till then l hope to witness a community where all blatant vandalism and loutish behaviour becomes possibly frowned upon....that believe it or not for reasons were yet to discover maybe. .just maybe...could happen.....11 mancs in 10 years

1 Response: Reply To This...
Matthew NicksonJune 24th 2014.

Hi Mark We come form an area where the mill workers downed tools against the Southern States. See Lincoln Square. Where the mill workers again refused to use Indian cotton and backed Ghandi in his struggle against Empire rule. My rant is not socialist it's basic humanitarian and all I've asked is an explanation for why it's ok to take money off a corrupt and disgusting regime where the workers are downtrodden to the point of slavery. Read this. www.wsws.org/…/duba-n09.html…

SoapysudsJune 24th 2014.

It is nice that Manchester Confidential used a photograph, which includes Ancoats Dispensary as it was, before it was allowed to be vandalised by Manchester City Council and Tom Bloxham. And once again, decisions have been made with no consultation with the local community. Additionally, no council/social housing, but high priced rabbit hutches. How short people's memories are, this area was going to be transformed under the Millennium Village programme, with EU and Government grants, only for a select few making personnel fortunes.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
GimboidJune 24th 2014.

Christ you moaning git, the dispensary is hardly even visible in the photo, you must be bloody desperate to find something to pick something so entirely irrelevant to criticise about this development. What decisions do you think have been made without consulting the local community? All that's been announced are the headline figures. No plans, no visuals, no phasing of development. It's people like you that bring this city down.

Charlie ButterworthJune 24th 2014.

Oh Soapysuds you silly person, this is wonderful news. As for community that has become the most useless phrase left in the left. The future happens in front of us with new 'communities' and new people. Would you refuse this money? Would you want the miserable old hell hole of the Dispensary (horrible word) to survive as a single facade rather than have the 6,000 homes?

AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

here here, well said Gimboid. Really sick of these moaners.

AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

Wow, talk about a straw man. So its save the Dispensary OR 6000 new homes? Surely there is room for both? The Dispensary holds enormous cultural and social value for the area and the people living there. It was even featured in a Lowry. This is part of the fabric of the city and must be saved. That does not mean that the new housing should not be welcomed. I hope there is not an outbreak of NIMBYism but 'community' is important if the development is to be sustainable. As such it must incorporate, not turn its back on the existing residents of the area and provide benefits for the whole area not just a gated compound.

Werner MullerJuly 19th 2014.

The Dispensary is clearly visible in the picture. It is an impressive building, once restored to its former glory. I trust that the restoration is part of the master plan.

MarkkennedyJune 25th 2014.

Mcfc have always held close links with their community.silverware or no silverware.the the dhabs want to take these links to an intergalactic new level.they are acutely aware of there public image t.ive made public art for the club for over ten years and I hope to carry on doing so.it seems mankind has always benefited at the cost of others.all over this tiny planet.one day our team will be full of local boys and girls. maybe countrys we believe to be run by people we deem to be unethical are changing but we cant see the progressions cos its far too slow for it too register.im well into this one.it will be nice to see ordinary people benefit for once.. keep watching...I admire your principles..this is the start of new thinking..dialogue. .and a springboard for us all...and if you my friend dont get your say I would be very suprised...lets learn from the co op..lol

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