Neville and Giggs secure funding for ambitious Manchester scheme
The photo shows (l-r) Lock Wai Han, Gary Neville, Sir Howard Bernstein, Ryan Giggs, Sir Richard Leese, Ho Kiam Kheong, Lau Yew Cheong, Gavin Taylor, Tan Wee Tuck.
Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs' development company has secured funding from Far East investors to develop a major new mixed-use scheme in Manchester city centre.
The Jackson's Row Development Partnership, which comprises Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Brendan Flood, together with Manchester City Council, have joined with Rowsley and Beijing Construction and Engineering Group (BCEG) to sign a funding agreement to develop St Michael's Manchester. The 1.43-acre £200m scheme is located between Jackson's Row, Bootle Street and Southmill Street, helping to link Deansgate to Manchester Town Hall.
Rowsley, a publicly listed company in Singapore invested in by billionaire Peter Lim, will own a majority share of the investment in the development. BCEG is the Chinese state-owned company involved in the £800m Airport City Manchester expansion project currently under construction.
Lim is already a backer of Salford City, the football club owned by the Class of '92.
Rowsley chief executive Lock Wai Han said: "We are excited to be in Manchester and to tap into its vibrancy and growth. Gary and his team exemplify the dynamism of the city and the city council, and it's a style of working we are very comfortable with in Singapore.
"St Michael's will become a landmark development and will meet the growing demand for quality accommodation and offices in Manchester.
"This will be Rowsley's first investment in Europe and comes at a time when the UK government is encouraging businesses to move north to escape the rising cost of operating in London. During a recent visit to Singapore, Prime Minister David Cameron urged Singapore companies to consider the Northern Powerhouse including Manchester, which he said was "brimming with infrastructure opportunities."
He added: "Mr Neville and Mr Giggs, two of Manchester's most famous residents, have a successful track record in real estate development and hotel management. Their Hotel Football overlooking Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium, opened to rave reviews in March 2015, with the New York Times touting it as a reason to visit Manchester."
"This represents a very important milestone for the development of St Michael's" said director and investor Gary Neville. "To secure funding for the project this early in the process is a fantastic achievement and demonstrates great confidence in the city.
"Moving swiftly is key and huge credit goes to Rowsley and BCEG for their committed approach in the last two months. We are all truly excited at what can be achieved with this innovative and inspiring development.
Xing Yan, managing director of BCEG, said: "We are delighted to be investing in such a prestigious scheme and are looking forward to working with our new partners to ensure St Michael's long term success."
Leader of Manchester City Council, Sir Richard Leese, said: "This prime location in the city's civic quarter is a significant opportunity to complement the investment which is taking place across the city with high-quality mixed use development.
"We have supported a robust planning framework for the site, which will be presented to the council's executive next month, and very much welcome the involvement of these new investors in the scheme. It's further proof of Manchester's standing in the global marketplace and the city's growing attraction to international investors."
Rowsley will pay £40m to acquire a 75 per cent stake in St Michael Investments Pte, with BCEG owning 21 per cent, Neville owning 2 per cent and Giggs owning 2 per cent.
Eversheds has advised Rowsley on the English law due diligence aspects of the transaction. The Eversheds team is being led by corporate partner Alistair Cree and real estate partner Michael Buchanan with support from Richard Simpson (senior associate, corporate), Helen Yeung (associate, corporate) Roy Barry (principal associate, real estate) and Michelle Upton (associate, real estate).
Cree said: "This is a landmark transaction for central Manchester and we are delighted to be advising Rowsley on such an exciting and prestigious project. We look forward to working with Rowsley further in the future."
Manchester commercial law firm Kuits Solicitors advised on the deals. Kuits' head of corporate and commercial Rob Buckley said: "We are proud to act for The Class of 92 and it is enormously satisfying for everyone in our team to be associated with these two iconic Manchester projects."