Taking the team to Plymouth!

September 13th, 2017 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Emily Handslip


Royal William Yard’s long been an important part of my life; I’ve worked on the placemaking, commercial lettings and evolution of the site for more than a decade - helping take it from a disused Naval goods yard to a thriving place that people want to come to to live, work and play.


So it was brilliant to take more than 60 of my Urban Splash colleagues from around the country on a guided tour of the place this weekend. We sailed the Yard’s ferry, we toured Mevlille - the last building at the Yard to be developed (more on that soon!) - we visited many of our tenants like Seco Lounge (cheers for the breakfast guys!), Ocean Studios, and we did wine tasting at Le Vignoble. We then went on to have a fantastic meal at Le Bistrot Pierre overlooking The Screen on the Green - an outdoor cinema which was showing La La Land. The next morning we completed our #YardlLife experiences with some stand up paddle boarding and yoga.


For some of my colleagues it was the first time they’d visited the scheme and it was great to see how bowled over they all were by the place - even the weekend’s incessant rain couldn’t get them down!


If you’ve not yet visited the Yard now’s a great time to go! We’ve still got lots of events ahead as we conclude our summer programme of activity - not to mention more plans ahead of the last few months of the year.

See you there soon!

Filed under: Mills Bakery, Plymouth, Royal William Yard, Urban Splash

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We’re delighted to have been appointed as a Homes and Community Agency (HCA) housing delivery partner, which means we hope to be able to create much needed homes across England. 


We’ll sit on all five regional panels of the Delivery Partner Panel 3 (DPP3) Framework, helping to accelerate residential-led development on public sector land in the North West, North East; Yorkshire and the Humber; the Midlands; East and South East and South and South West.


We’ve got a good track record of working with the HCA and other similar partners. We share a similar vision with them to create awesome and contemporary places for people to live, work and play; places like New Islington in Manchester, Park Hill in Sheffield, Royal William Yard in Plymouth and Saxton in Leeds - to name just a few! Hopefully, our new role means we can acclerate build delivery; as panel members we are eligible to bid for contracts to deliver new-build homes across the regions.


We also hope it will result in more of our Houses - we believe our modular concept is perfect for accelerating the delivery of new homes (watch our House film to see why…).


Read the full story of our appointment here.

Filed under: Affordable homes, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, New Islington, Plymouth, Urban Splash, hoUSe

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My interview with Property Week

August 14th, 2017 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Tom Bloxham MBE


I recently met with Helen Crane from Property Week for a catch up and a chance for me to tell her all about our plans.

The 3-page interview (which can be read here) looked back to when we began “developing trendy loft apartments in former industrial buildings in Manchester and Liverpool city centres”, apartments which defined our “signature style” right through to where we are today with House.


It outlined how we are “ready to challenge perception” with House as “one of the first developers to launch a major push into modular construction”; it stated that the concept is “making waves in the property industry”.


It also gave me a chance to talk about our plans to turn the Office Village in Salford Quays into the Boat Shed. A “creative and ambitious” vision which allows us to take on the last bastion of building types; we’ve done Georgian buildings, we’ve done Victorian buildings, we’ve done Art Deco buildings, we’ve done concrete 1960s buildings (check our before and afters here) and this is one of those ugly 1990s office - for which we’re taking inspiration from Berlin artist studios to make it a much more funky office space.


You can read the full article here)

Filed under: Mills Bakery, New Islington, Park Hill, Plymouth, Royal William Yard, Sheffield, Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash, hoUSe

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Park Hill; our 1960s cover star

August 9th, 2017 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Mark Latham


Check out these pictures of Park Hill in Sheffield in its original guise in the December 1962 edition of the RIBA Journal - with the scheme even making the magazine’s front page.


The mag carries an interview with Jack Lynn, one of the two original architects (together with Ivor Smith), about the genesis of the building’s design - notably the inspiration that came from Le Corbusier’s L’Unite d’Habitation in Marseilles - a buiding that’s often compared to Park Hill.


It’s great to see that, whether in its 1960s form or its transformation today, Park Hill’s still revered as an architectural icon by RIBA; in 2013 the organisation shortlisted the building for that year’s Stirling Prize. Park Hill’s also received three RIBA Awards.


Find out more about the scheme here. A big thanks to design agency Build for sending these pictures in to us.

Filed under: Park Hill, Sheffield, Urban Splash

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A boutique hotel, ferry and bakery at the Yard

July 28th, 2017 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Emily Handslip


Forget your far-flung shores, Royal William Yard in Plymouth is the place to be.

We’ve just confirmed that we’ll be opening the site’s first ever hotel later in the year; Bistrot Pierre with Rooms will be run by the bar and restaurant operator of the same name.


It will offer 14 brilliantly designed (created by Yard architect Gillespie Yunnie) rooms for visitors who want to make more of a holiday at the Yard, and sample what’s on offer for a bit longer.


We also announced that a new ferry route is in operation, taking passengers by boat to the Barbican and Mount Edgcumbe.


And we’ve welcomed the new Column Bakehouse bakery; there you can enjoy a range of in-house baked products against the backdrop of their beautifully designed space.


Add to that an awesome programme of summer events, with the Pennywell Farm event this weekend, to performances of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, films on the screen on the green, and the return of Weekend of Wonders, and it really is going to be a great couple of months.


Find out more about what’s on offer here.

Filed under: Mills Bakery, Plymouth, Royal William Yard, Urban Splash

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July 28th, 2017 [ No comments ]

A good time for Tea!

by Nicky Harries


We recently completed the first phase of works to improve our Tea Factory in Liverpool.


It was one of the first ever buildings we developed in the city; in a great location, with lots of original features, it was much loved, but we wanted to spruce up some of the communal areas to make it even better for our occupiers.

The impact since has been pretty awesome.


We’ve got just one workspace unit remaining in the entire building, we’ve got chuffed tenants who love the new tea break areas and communal spaces and we’ve facilitated co-sharing spaces thanks to the arrival of Spaces who work with us to offer managed, serviced office options for smaller operators (find out how you can grab a desk on their co-workation floor here).


The latest deals, to businesses like  record company 3 Beat, who has taken an 1,809 sq ft unit, business software developer Yozu, who’ll move into a first floor, 2,710 sq ft unit and RW Invest North Limited; the property developers have signed on a 3,736 sq ft workspace at the scheme, mean the building’s now 95% let.


And what’s more exciting is a second round of works is underway to further improve communal spaces at the Tea Factory, and we’ll soon be announcing which leisure operator is going to be moving into the ground floor… Watch this space!

For further details about Tea, and the neighbouring Vanilla Factory in Liverpool, click here.

Filed under: Concert Square, Liverpool, Urban Splash

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July 24th, 2017 [ No comments ]

Our Town Houses are taking shape at Irwell Riverside

by Lee Richardson


Check out these great new pictures of our Town Houses taking shape at Irwell Riverside in Manchester.


There, we’re creating an urban, waterfront neighbourhood on a site is located just off Trinity Way, a few minutes walk from Victoria and Salford Central stations and less than half a mile from Harvey Nics.


On it, we’re creating 72 family, high spec homes, with the first lot in place and ready for our residents to move into later in the year. There’ll be a mix of three storey 1500 sq ft homes and two storey 1000 sq ft homes available, each customised by customers via our online configuration tool (which you can have a play around with here) before your designs are sent to our factory and built with precision.


There are just a few Town Houses remaining for sale in our current phase and you can view them here. Or get in touch with our team for more details. You can also learn more about our Houses, their design and how they’re made in this film.

Filed under: Urban Splash, hoUSe

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I recently joined Evan Davies (he of Dragon’s Den and BBC business fame), Geeta Nanda OBE of Thames Valley Housing and Josh Ryan Collins from the New Economics Foundation on a Radio 4 debate on housing - entitled ‘land, the mother of all monopolies’.


Apparently, I was the only developer prepared (or stupid enough!) to talk about the economics of land supply and development. Hopefully, I argued that property development was not just about buying land and waiting for the cash to roll in, but about how developers have to find the land, get the planning, fund the build, get it built on time and on budget, make the place, and ultimtely sell or rent out the properties. Success only comes about by working closely with local communities and authorities and I talked through examples of how we’ve done this previously at the Northern Quarter in Manchester, and New Islington where we’ve helped create a new park, a marina, a health centre, and a new OFSTED outstanding primary school - transforming one of the worst parts of Manchester into what is now one of the best.


When host Evan gave me the ‘last word’, it allowed me to outline my vision for changing the market; I suggested that every local authority needs to appoint a city or town architect who will be well resourced, highly regarded and plan and define the vision of what their city wants to be, helping turn land into beautiful places in which we all want to live, work and play.


Listen to the full programme here and let us know what you think.

Filed under: Affordable homes, Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash, hoUSe

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An excellent set of results

July 7th, 2017 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Tom Bloxham MBE


I’m delighted to announce our annual results for the year ending September 2016; results which saw us record a profit of £12.2m, cash resreves of £13.9m and a total turnover of £26m - up £1m on the year prior.

It’s been a thoroughly enjoyable year; one in which we’ve achieved so much. You can read a full briefing on the year in my Chairman’s Statement here, but some highlights include…


We launched the first scheme of House, our modular family housing concept. 43 Town Houses at New Islington were launched, swiftly sold and are now fully occupied. We also launched the first Houses at Irwell Riverside.


Royal William Yard being crowned as ‘Development of the Decade‘ by Property Week


We completed the first phase at Park Hill; 260 homes (which are now fully occupied) and 30,000 sq ft of workspaces


We invested in the refurbishment of Tea Factory in Liverpool to create improved units and communal areas for tenants; we also partnered with Spaces to create a coworkation floor


We acquired the Office Village scheme in Salford Quays; watch this space for our refurbishment plans there…


And we’ll be creating Manchester’s biggest lofts (up to 4,000 sq ft in size!) following a deal with Town Centre Securities to redevelop Brownsfield Mill in Manchester

My plan for the next year is to continue with these exciting regeneration projects and, like the ancient Athenians, we will continue to proudly fulfill our oath: “we will leave this city, not less but greater, better and more beautiful than it was left to us”.

Read more about our results in the press below:
Property Week
Manchester Evening News
North West Business Insider
The Business Desk
Development Finance Today
Plymouth Herald

Filed under: Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash

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smiths_dock_jun17_house21On Saturday 8th July we’re launching Help to Buy on homes for sale at Smith’s Dock - giving more people a chance to get on the ladder at our Tyneside scheme.

Smith’s Dock is North Shields’ historic shipyard; we recently unveiled the first waterfront homes for sale there and have already sold 50% of them - with the remainder available through Help to Buy.


It’s an initiative that sees the Government lend buyers up to 20% of the cost of a new-build home free of charge, meaning they need just 5% cash deposit and a 75% mortgage to make up the rest.


Our launch event’s a chance to tell customers more about how it works - and how affordable home ownership can be.If you want to join us, drop us a line by calling 0191 580 7999, email us or visit the Smith’s Dock website.

Filed under: Urban Splash, hoUSe

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