Saturday, August 13, 2022
UK

Over $81m loaned to developer building luxury skyscrapers

luxury skyscrapers

Renaker will receive the loan from the GMCA for its Three60 scheme

Another £62.3m ($81.87m) of taxpayer’s money will be loaned to a city centre developer building skyscrapers with luxury flats, taking the total awarded above £130m ($170.83m).

Renaker will receive the loan from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) for its Three60 scheme next to the Mancunian Way.

The development in the Deansgate Square area, described as ‘a luxury living experience like no other’, will feature 441 flats, but none will be affordable.

Renaker has also received loans of £32.4m ($42.58m) for The Blade – a similar scheme on the same site – and £37.6m ($49.41m) for Collier’s Yard in the Greengate area of Salford.

None of these new apartments will be affordable, but the developer could contribute towards affording housing elsewhere in the city at a later stage.

The plans also include creating a new public park and a primary school nearby.

The loans are expected to generate an income for the GMCA with the surplus to be spent on social housing and homelessness schemes in the city-region.

However, Lib councillor John Leech said lending public money to private developers who are not delivering any affordable housing is a ‘scandal’.

He said: If they’re reliant on this financial support from the GMCA, it makes sense to say, ‘if you want this money, you’ve got to deliver affordable housing’.

Renaker could be providing much more money towards affordable housing or they could be providing affordable housing within the development, he said. They’d still make a profit and the GMCA would still get their money back.

They could say, ‘unless you provide affordable housing, we don’t think this is a development we want to support’, Leech said.

Unless Renaker could borrow money and cheaper elsewhere, they’d probably turn around and say, ‘we’ll be able to provide affordable housing’, he said.

The Manchester councillor has also dismissed allowing developers to ‘side-step’ council policy on affordable housing by creating public parks instead.

He argued that this makes the developments more attractive to its residents and should not be taken into consideration as part of the planning process.

A Renaker spokesperson said these developments deliver ‘much needed new homes’ on brownfield sites which have previously been underutilised, create new jobs and provide significant new public realm and social infrastructure.

The property developer said it uses several different funding providers.

The spokesperson said: The development loans you refer to have been agreed on commercial terms and will provide a return to GMCA.

Council leaders agreed to allocate £62.3m ($81.87m) from the Housing Investment Loans Fund for the Three60 development at a GMCA meeting on Friday.

However, as Renaker could exceed the £100 ($131.41) cap attached to the fund, up to £20m ($26.28m) may have to be drawn from the Growing Places Fund set up in 2012/13.

A GMCA spokesperson said: The Greater Manchester Housing Investment Loans Fund exists to deliver more high-quality homes for people living, or wanting to live, in the city-region.

The delivery of affordable housing provision is decided by the local authority at the planning stage as the Local Planning Authority – those decisions are never for GMCA to make, nor influence, the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said: The loan commitments to the Collier’s Yard, Blade and Three60 schemes were all made following the granting of planning permission.

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