Manchester Construction Boom

The Manchester Construction Boom: What It Means for the City 

Friday 19th Jan 2024 |

If you’re in Manchester, go to the window and take a quick look outside. Have you noticed that the city’s horizon is filled with cranes, and new skyscrapers are rising all the time? Manchester is experiencing a construction boom, a period of significant expansion in the industry that brings many benefits to the city and opportunities for investors. 

What is Behind This Expansion 

Several factors contribute to this excellent moment in the industry. The demand for residential and commercial buildings is growing, the economy is booming, and employment levels are excellent. Here are some of the ongoing investments in the city. 

  • St Michael’s Development: This £200m development, led by former footballer Gary Neville’s firm Relentless in partnership with Salboy, includes a 40-storey tower with a five-star hotel, a nine-storey office building, and a new public square with food, drink, and entertainment facilities. The development is part of the regeneration of the former Bootle Street Police Station site. 
  • Boddingtons Brewery Site: The £195 million revitalisation project of the former Boddingtons Brewery site, known as Waterhouse Gardens, has begun. Led by Salboy and construction partner DOMIS, the project aims to be completed in 2026. It will feature a 20-story tower and five buildings, offering 556 homes and 31,000 sq ft of commercial and retail space. Amenities include a clubhouse with pools, courts, lounges, and private gardens.  
  • Victoria North: This £4bn project is Northern England’s most significant urban regeneration initiative. It will create 15,000 new homes, a fifth of which will be affordable, along with a new city river park. The development covers a 155-hectare site and includes the regeneration of Collyhurst and the construction of new homes in the Red Bank neighbourhood. 
  • Berkeley Square: Strategically located between Manchester and Salford, this development comprises 500 apartments of one to three bedrooms spread across two buildings. Residents will be able to enjoy a myriad of amenities, such as rooftop gardens, co-working spaces, landscaped courtyards, a gym and bike storage.  

These developments, coupled with investments in student accommodation, commercial properties, and the city’s robust economy and job market, are key drivers of Manchester’s construction boom. The city’s economy, valued at approximately £71 billion, is supported by industries such as tech, digital, media, advanced manufacturing, and tourism, with major corporations like the BBC, ITV, Kellogg’s, Siemens, and The Hut Group contributing to its growth. 

A Surge in Residential and Commercial Development 

The robust nature of Manchester’s construction industry is evident in its recent performance. According to the Manchester Crane Survey 2023, the sector is experiencing its best moment in five years.  

Approximately 10,000 new residences are built each year, on average. This substantial number of houses and apartments meets the continually growing demand. Manchester’s population expanded by about 10% between 2011 and 2021. The survey predicts that around 20,000 new inhabitants will arrive in the city over the next three years. These people will be attracted by the excellent educational opportunities and the city’s numerous employment prospects. 

In 2022, a total of 700,000 square feet of office space was introduced to the market, with 8% of this located in the St John’s area, primarily consisting of pre-let properties. This area is a testament to Manchester’s strong standing in the technology sector on a global scale. Notable tenants like the international media conglomerate WPP and Booking.com have selected Manchester for their headquarters, demonstrating the city’s appeal.  

The tourism sector also contributes to the construction boom. Since 2015, over 6,000 hotel rooms across 33 establishments have been added to Manchester. 

How Manchester’s Construction Boom Fuels Economic Growth 

The construction boom’s influence permeates through various economic sectors, each responding in its own way to the increased activity and demand generated by this upturn. For example, Manchester scaffolding companies have become crucial, providing safe and accessible work platforms on construction sites. Similarly, architectural and design services are seeing increased activity, driven by the need to plan and visualise new projects. 

Engineering consultancy – covering civil, structural, and environmental aspects – is proving essential for effectively executing construction plans. Legal services are experiencing a surge due to an increase in contracts, disputes, and compliance issues. Surveying and geotechnical services have become vital for site assessments and ensuring structural integrity. 

Project management skills are increasingly in demand to oversee projects from inception to completion, while building inspection and compliance services ensure adherence to building codes and safety standards.  

The real estate sector benefits from a boost in transactions, aiding agents, brokers, and property managers. Environmental consulting is gaining importance for assessing impacts and promoting sustainable practices. 

Equipment rental for cranes, excavators, and loaders is rising, as is the demand for labour hire and staffing services to provide the necessary workforce. Additionally, utility installation and maintenance services for electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems become increasingly critical with each new construction project. 

A Transformative Power 

Manchester’s construction boom catalyses economic growth, triggering a chain reaction of development across multiple sectors. From the tangible skyline bristling with cranes to the less visible, yet equally significant, surges in professional services, real estate, and technological innovation, this boom is reshaping Manchester’s economic landscape. 

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