We are aiming to add to our existing Ancoats portfolio by converting an existing and underutilised brownfield site into a well-designed, well used and well managed space which fit with all the objectives of the neighbourhood and benefits all local stakeholders.
At northerngroup we retain both the ownership and exclusive management of the spaces we create and that policy significantly shapes the design and specifications of what we build. We have over 10 years’ experience in manging apartments in Ancoats so we know what works (and on occasion what doesn’t!). The exclusive management of the blocks is a key aspect of our business model as unlike traditional management agents we have a vested interest in ensuring all tenancies start correctly and are conducted correctly throughout. This strategy ensures that our customers benefit from living the way the blocks were intended and are not subject to rogue neighbours beyond the control of the management company. We have seen apartment blocks both in Manchester and beyond fail due to poor and fragmented management.
Mecanoo Architects knew Ancoats very well as an area having helped Manchester City Council shape the local plan and as part of the process of selecting them we showed them our existing stock, in particular the Ice Plant building which we feel is a flagship in terms of desirable and generous living spaces. Mecanoo recognised our brief in creating first and foremost great living spaces. We are a privately owned company who are commercially savvy without having strict performance targets – that allows us to take a longer term view on our developments and investments. We strongly believe that whilst creating well designed, high specified and generous living spaces might not be the most profitable way of developing a scheme for immediate returns, the long term gains for a ‘invested developer’ will become evident in the years to come.
The other design brief which was made clear is that we are property people – we love creating well designed, highly desirable spaces. What we are clearly not is gym operators, cinema room operators etc. Ancoats is a superbly located urban village in the heart of a great international city. The city centre amenities are on the doorstep for all residents within Ancoats, so we made a conscious decision to stick to doing what we are best at and allow our residents go out of their homes and discover the city and all it has to offer.
The result of the brief is a really well thought out building which hits all of our targets. The 109 apartments are great spaces which provide diversity and true city centre living, together with a generous provision of secure cycle parking.
We strongly feel (and have first-hand real experiences) that by raising the standard of the apartment we will create communities that residents feel a part of and want to stay and nurture. This helps residents put down genuine roots and the well-documented problems of transient tenancies is softened.
Ancoats as an emerging neighbourhood also has a genuine requirement for family living. The fantastic infrastructure and facilities offered by the local primary school and health centre should rightly attract families and residents of all ages. With this in mind we aimed to create diversity in our apartment offering with the crown of the building offering true family living with substantial useable outside spaces.