The British expansion plans of a Chinese contractor got a boost this week when a city council granted planning permission for the first phase of a $1.04bn (£700m) mixed-use project in western Manchester that is being undertaken by a Anglo-Chinese joint venture.
Over the past year, we’ve worked closely with Salford City Council and consulted with all the local communities and interested groups to achieve this milestone– Lee Savage, the development director of Scarborough
Beijing Construction and Engineering Group (BCEG) will build the 24-acre Middlewood Locks scheme, a major new residential and commercial neighbourhood in Salford. BCEG is reported to have invested £4m in the scheme.
Middlewood Locks is being developed by FairBriar International, a joint venture between London-based property firm Scarborough Group International and Hualing Group, a company based in the western Chinese province of Xinjiang.
Metro Holdings, a Singapore-listed property development and investment group, is also investing.
The investors announced today that Salford City Council had granted planning permission.
"This is fantastic news," said Lee Savage, the development director of Scarborough. "Over the past year, we’ve worked closely with Salford City Council and consulted with all the local communities and interested groups to achieve this milestone for Middlewood Locks. We can now concentrate on delivering a development of which Salford and Greater Manchester can be proud."
Construction will commence in early 2016, with residents expected to move in in the mid-2017. The first phase will involve building 571 homes as well as convenience shops and restaurants, canal-side footpaths and cycleways that will connect into the city centre.
The development will eventually contain 2,000 homes and up to 750,000 square feet of commercial development space centred on three basins of the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal.
An aerial view of the site as it is now (Scarborough)
The scheme marks a significant extension of BCEG into the UK market following its involvement in Airport City, Manchester, announced in October 2013.
BCEG is hoping to become the first big Chinese company to establish itself as a main contractor in the UK market.
In December last year Lau Yew Cheong, an executive director of BCEG, told GCR that he planned to undertake $300m to $400m worth of work in the UK in the next five years.
The company has been pursuing further investment opportunities in the UK and in August 2015 announced an investment in the St Michael’s scheme in Manchester, which aims to turn a former police station into a leisure and entertainment venue.
Top image: A rendering of the completed development (Scarborough)