Richardson complete £105m investment for new net zero carbon office for Government office

The Oldbury-based Richardson family business and its joint venture partner Ask Real Estate have completed a £105m transaction with Pension Insurance Corporation to enable delivery of the next phase of office development at First Street in Manchester city centre, which will start on site immediately.

First Street
First Street

Situated within the expanding First Street neighbourhood, the next phase of development is a 130,900 sq ft Grade A office building which has been fully pre-let to the Government Property Agency for its Manchester Hub on a 25-year lease.

In alignment with Manchester’s target to become a zero-carbon city by 2038, the next generation office building has been designed for the GPA so it can be operated as a net zero carbon space. This has been achieved by using a higher percentage of solid façade to reduce the solar gain and improve the thermal performance of the building and therefore reducing energy demands. The mixed mode natural ventilation system also reduces energy usage as well as improving health and wellbeing.

John Hughes, Managing Director at Ask said: “We’re delighted that PIC shares our vision for First Street. We’ve always strived to deliver high-quality, innovative and sustainable developments, and without doubt the GPA hub will be exactly that.

“From a wider perspective, this investment highlights Manchester’s continuing strength as a forward-thinking world-class city in which to work, live and visit. We are proud to be playing our role by successfully progressing the phased delivery of the First Street Estate, which is now one of the region's most popular workplace destinations.”

James Agar, head of long income at PIC, said, “We are delighted to have concluded this market leading transaction during a period of such turbulence in both financial and construction markets. This investment provides us with secure, long-dated and index linked cashflows which are perfectly aligned to serving PIC’s purpose, which is to pay the pensions of our current and future policyholders over coming decades.

“Government let commercial property assets have been an area of specific focus for PIC and we are we are pleased to make this long term commitment to supporting the modernisation of the GPA estate. We expect First Street to be the first development in an expanding partnership with the GPA as it looks to deliver its strategic roll out for 2025 and beyond.”

Speaking on behalf of the GPA, Clive Anderson, director of capital projects said: “The First Street development is part of the Government Hubs Programme which will provide a smaller, better and greener estate which supports the Government’s ambition to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“The Government Hubs Programme will also create modern, inclusive environments where departments can be collocated in shared buildings across the UK. This supports the Government’s Levelling Up agenda and Places for Growth initiative, encouraging the movement and creation of jobs outside London.

When the Manchester First Street Hub opens in 2025 it will be home to 2,500 civil servants from at least four different government departments, making it one of the largest hubs for cross-government collaboration and operation outside London.”

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