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Manchester Property Competition Seeks New Ideas


Anyone with an interest in the future of Manchester property now has the opportunity to display their original thinking and creativity, after a group of developers and regeneration experts launched a new competition this week.

Mancunian developer Urban Splash, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and urban regeneration firm New East Manchester (NEM) are looking for an exciting and original project to make use of an empty space at east Manchester’s New Islington site. The area in question is around 0.7 acres, flat and square.

The competition has been organised in partnership with Property Week magazine – specifically its Site Life initiative, which wants to revitalise areas of the Manchester property market which have garnered less interest than many others in recent years. Entrants are being asked to propose a “visually attractive” idea for the site, and the winning choice will be realised and remain in place on the New Islington site while the rest of it is developed for a 12-month period.

Urban Splash chairman Tom Bloxham told the magazine: “New Islington was an area filled with poor quality housing and disused public spaces; one of the most rundown areas in Manchester. Now it is somewhere that is beginning to change.”

“The aim of the competition is to find somebody with a short-term project that can complement these efforts. We want designs with vision, ambition and most of all somebody who can deliver something that is going to make an impact on the area as a whole.”

NEM chief executive Eddie Smith added: “New Islington is starting to take shape. Within the next few months, the final pieces of public realm will be constructed with £4.4 million of North West Regional Development Agency funding, allowing the public into the park and canal boats into the newly created marina.”

Mr Smith said that although the New Islington project faces a number of challenges in the current harsh economic climate – challenges common to the entire Manchester property sector – the initiative is a long-term regeneration scheme, and the competition is aimed at “making the most of this prominent, cleared site while it awaits development.”