Far East Consortium has acquired a 20 acre (81,000 square metre) residential plot in central Manchester that brings the developer’s land investment in the city to more than £30 million ($37.3 million) since 2017 and boosts its development pipeline to 3,800 homes, according to an announcement.
The Hong Kong-listed developer, which has HK$57 billion assets under management globally and is a partner on Manchester City Council’s Northern Gateway regeneration scheme, purchased the land for an undisclosed sum from the UK’s government-funded railway operator Network Rail.
The acquisition comes at a time when forecasts predict that Greater Manchester, which leads all regional creative and tech business clusters in the UK with £3.1 billion in annual turnover, is expected to grow at a rate of 14 percent over the next five years, well ahead of the UK average of 11 percent, according to Savills.
Helmed by second-generation tycoon David Chiu, Far East Consortium has now completed four off-market land transactions since signing a partnership agreement with Manchester City Council in April 2017 for the Northern Gateway development, which is set to deliver 15,000 new homes to the UK’s second-largest city over the next 15 to 20 years.
1,000 New Homes in the Northern Gateway
“We are delighted to have secured this large land plot which is crucial to the overall implementation of the Northern Gateway masterplan,” said Chris Hoong, managing director of Far East Consortium. “We have a strong belief in the population growth of Manchester and are encouraged by the demand of quality housing in the city which Far East Consortium will be delivering.”
Far East Consortium expects to build over 1,000 new homes on this most recent site, including the first elements of a development that will link Angel Meadow, once known as the UK’s most savage slum, to the north of Manchester.
Located northeast of Manchester’s Victoria railway station, FEC’s 20-acre site includes the former railway sidings and viaduct of the transport hub, which the developer plans to retain in the housing development.
The plot also features 17 arches and warehouse units, some of which are already tenanted by startup businesses.
Far East Consortium’s UK regional general manager, Gavin Taylor, said that the developer will encourage existing tenants to remain in the converted railway arches, while proposals for new housing and an elevated New York-style High Line park on the viaduct will be brought forward at a later date.