Tuesday, 11 November 2014

MSc Real Estate: Manchester 2014

On the coach - photo by Geoff Keogh

The students on the MSc Real Estate went on a field trip to one of my favourite cities last week: Manchester (it's a northern thing). The field trip was designed to introduce the postgraduate students to issues of sustainable use and development in the context of a specific commercial property market and to:

  • develop an understanding of sustainable use and development
  • examine the use, investment and development of commercial property
  • set commercial property in a wider economic, social, political and legal context

The city has changed so much over the past 200 years when it played a major part in the industrial revolution. Manchester went from being the centre of the world's cotton industry to a city in decline in the 1950s and 60s with the loss of the traditional manufacturing industries. The city and its people fought back and the 1980s saw massive investment and regeneration which continued after the 1996 bomb attack. Throughout all this one thing has remained the same: the northern grit, humour and creativity of its people. Anthony Wilson (of Hacienda fame and also largely responsible for the Madchester music scene) once said of Manchester: 'We do things differently here'. How very true...

...especially as the field trip took place during the same week that the Chancellor (George Osborne) announced moves to make Greater Manchester a 'northern powerhouse' with the first metro-wide elected mayor outside London to oversee policies such as transport, social care and housing as well as police budgets. Manchester already has more powers than many other English cities. In 2011, Manchester City Council teamed up with nine neighbouring councils to form the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) - the first statutory 'super-council' with power to co-ordinate the region's regeneration, economy and transport priorities. 

Here's what happened on the field trip (photos by Geoff Keogh and Nina Xia). More information can be accessed by clicking on the red link words.

Wednesday 3 November
The students arrived in Manchester in the early evening and checked into the Britannia Hotel which is located in the grade II listed Watts Warehouse, built in 1856 as a textile warehouse for the wholesale drapery business of S & J Watts and the largest single-occupancy textile warehouse in Manchester. They then headed off on foot to Wagamama in Spinningfields Square for the first night meal.

Wagamamas - photo by Nina Xia

Tuesday 4 November
After breakfast, the students set out for the St James Building for two presentations:

Development and Regeneration in Manchester: the Urban Splash model -
Paul Jones from
Urban Splash

Shopping Centre Management: briefing on the Trafford Centre -
Nick French, Oxford Brookes University

After lunch the students went on an orientation tour (by bus) of Salford and Manchester
with Jamie Bottomley from CBRE and Jonathan Schofield from ManchesterConfidential

Media City

This was followed by the final presentation of the day given by Jamie Bottomley (CBRE) -
Commercial Property in Manchester: Market Overview.

Wednesday 5 November
A busy day started with two presentations and visits:

New Islington
(the old 
Cardroom Estate 
and one the 'Millennium Communities' delivered as a public/private partnership) with Paul Jones from Urban Splash

Waulk Mill
(one of the first historic Ancoats mills to be restored)

New Islington

Old Granada Studios
(the original home of Coronation Street) is a regeneration project aiming to bring new life to the Old Granada Studios development and revamp the area into a creative hub -
with Alex Hill from
 Allied London

The final visit (and lunch) took place at the Trafford Centre where the students undertook a self-guided assessment of the shopping centre. The Trafford Centre was not always a popular development, but has proved many of its critics wrong.

There is a lot of information out there about the regeneration of Manchester - if you're interested, try the following links:

Lessons from Manchester
Regeneration in Salford
Regeneration of the Ardwick Estate
New East Manchester

Amazingly everyone was back on the coach by 2.30pm for the return trip to Oxford. 
In charge of the coach: Tony - photo by Nina Xia

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