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Christie + Co to sell Manchester’s London Road Fire Station site

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Specialist leisure and hospitality property adviser Christie + Co has been instructed on behalf of Britannia Hotels to market for sale as a hotel the former London Road Fire Station situated opposite Piccadilly Station in Manchester.

This Grade II* listed building comes to the market for the first time in 30 years. Its gateway location has long made it one of Manchester’s landmark properties.

Designed in an Edwardian Baroque style by Woodhouse, Willoughby and Langham in red brick and terracotta, the building was completed in 1906, operating for some 80 years in a variety of civil guises prior to its closure and subsequent sale in 1986.

The property has the benefit of planning and listed building consent for the conversion and extension of the property to form an upscale 227 bedroom hotel and associated facilities extending to over 13,000 sq m including restaurants, bar facilities and function spaces.

The Piccadilly area of Manchester is the subject of ambitious regeneration plans as part of the HS2 Piccadilly strategic regeneration framework. Proposals, together with those for the neighbouring Mayfield area, could see the integration of the Piccadilly and HS2 stations as well as significant additional investment and development including hospitality uses, 4,500 new homes, 625,000 sq m of commercial office space, 100,000 sq m of retail space  and the creation of high quality public spaces and cultural/community use buildings.

The refurbishment of the Fire Station for hotel use represents a major commercial opportunity to enhance the profile of this truly iconic landmark site and capitalise on the continued strengthening of the local hospitality trading environment and improving economic conditions throughout the UK.

Substantial freehold offers are being sought for the freehold property with the benefit of vacant possession. 

A spokesperson for Britannia Hotels commented: “The dynamics of the UK’s hotel market have improved significantly since 2009 and Manchester’s key trading characteristics have returned strongly. Following a number of successful development transactions in the city and the high profile single asset sale of the Lowry for example, we feel the time is now appropriate to conduct an open and transparent sales process.”

A Manchester City Council spokesman said: “The regeneration of the Piccadilly area is at a pivotal stage and the re-use of the London Road Fire Station as a hotel will improve the appearance of the wider area, create new jobs and maximise the opportunities created through HS2. The council supports the sale of this important landmark building."" 

The sale is being jointly handled by Jeremy Jones, Head of Hotels Brokerage at Christie + Co alongside his colleague, Jon Patrick, Christie + Co’s Head of Leisure & Development.

Jon Patrick was quoted as follows: “The average sale price of hotels in the UK increased by over 17% in 2014 and the hospitality sector is witnessing a robust period of investment both for individual and portfolio opportunities. Strategically located properties, particularly those with the character and history of the Fire Station make for superb hotel real estate conversions and we have been encouraged by the early interest generated from both the UK and overseas.”

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