Recent acquisitions

October 3rd, 2016 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Tom Bloxham MBE

This past 12 months has been a good one for acquisitions and new developments for Urban Splash; and now we are looking for more.


In October 2015, we purchased off-market 4 Canal St in Manchester from private vendors. A fully-let, 19,000 sq ft commercial building bought in partnership with Pears Group using internal resources.


We soon followed it with the acquisition of the former Regiment pub site in Manchester’s Castlefield - a scheme which has planning permission for 44 apartments - from major listed developers. The off-market transaction was completed in just 10 days.

In December 2015, we purchased a plot of land to the south of the Walsall Canal, adjoining the award winning, new art gallery by 2016 Stirling Prize winner Caruso St John.


And another commercial acquisition came in the form of Phoenix Mill in Ancoats, and the Church Inn, acquired on behalf of investment partner TBI2000 Investments…


Meanwhile, we were given a chance to extend our work in Plymouth - where we’ve converted Royal William Yard into a great place to live and thriving tourist destination - by acquiring  the city’s Grade II Listed Civic Centre from Plymouth City Council. Designs are currently being worked up for the building.


Back in the North West, we had a successful run of Summer acquisitions, first of all taking on the Barton Business Park in Eccles; an industrial investment on a 2.6-acre site acquired in a cash purchase by Urban Splash…


We also purcahsed 4 acres of land from Salford City Council on the banks of the River Irwell where we are now on site with our next phase of hoUSe.


And soonafter, again with our JV partner Pears, we acquired the 46,000 sq ft Office Village at Exchange Quay in Salford Quays for refurbishment and investment. The scheme was acquired from a major fund in a deal completed in just five working days.


Most recently, we acquired Brownsfield Mill in Manchester from Town Centre Securities which will be redeveloped as part of the broader Piccadilly Basin regeneration plans. One of the last untouched mills, we’re hoping to create the city’s biggest apartments there - with hopes for lofts of upto 4,000 sq ft!

We’re still aggressively on the lookout for new buildings, investment properties Brownfield sites that we can turn into contemporary spaces where people can live, work and play so get in touch if you wish to discuss a prospective development by emailing us on All of the above properties were acquired on the offer terms initially agreed, using internal resources and without bank debt; something which allows us to act decisively and quickly

We’ve created more than 4,000 homes and 2 billion sq ft of workspaces in the past 20 years; here’s to creating many more.

Filed under: Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash

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Enjoy a Tea Break

September 26th, 2016 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Emily Handslip


We’ve been making lots of changes at our Tea Factory in Liverpool with some great new improvements for businesses located there.

The first phase of changes has seen us add a ‘Tea Break’ space, exclusively for the use of our tenants. The space features new kitchen, relaxation and breakout spaces, plus tenants can also book a dedicated room to host their own meetings.

It was unveiled to occupiers with a special preview lunch, at which tenants were also given cool, branded Tea Break merchandise including tea towels and bags.


We do things like this as we’re committed to making our spaces better and easier for tenants to use. These facilities for example come alongside our flexible lease terms.

If you want to come and have a look around Tea Factory – or any of our commercial spaces in Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and Plymouth then drop us a line.

Filed under: Urban Splash

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3-4 September: Weekend of Wonders returns to the Yard

September 1st, 2016 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Emily Handslip


Last year we welcomed thousands of people to the Yard for a day filled with spectacular international street performances at the Weekend of Wonders.

I’m delighted it’s back this weekend for a second year only this time for two days! There’ll be show stopping entertainment and street performances from The Invisible Circus and Yskynna-AA Vertical Dancers, and our award winning artisan Good Food Market will be within Factory Cooperage alongside one off craft stalls for this weekend only!


Best of all it’s free for all the family so come along and experience the fun, enjoy our shops and restaurants and take in the atmosphere of Royal William Yard. Hope to see you there!

Filed under: Plymouth, Royal William Yard, Urban Splash

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Royal William Yard in Plymouth’s been such a special development for us; it’s evolved into a real, recognisable destination, somewhere not only for people to live and work in, but a place to visit and holiday in too.

That belief was verified this month by an article I read in the Sunday Times Travel Magazine; in it a big feature entitled ‘Secret South West’ listed all the best bits of the region, with lots of Royal William Yard highlights included!

Pick up your copy of the magazine to read about Le Vignoble (an interior that’s “sleek and sexy”) , the Royal William Bakery (whch serves “ace coffee”), Bistrot Pierre (which “buzzes most nights”) and the Royal William Yard apartments which the mag cites as “swishly modern… with fabulous vistas”.

Come and visit us today; we’ve plenty of onsite parking or you can catch the ferry across from the Barbican.

Filed under: Plymouth, Royal William Yard, Urban Splash

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More coverage for hoUSe

July 8th, 2016 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Tom Bloxham MBE


I’ve really enjoyed reading all of the coverage on hoUSe recently. Blueprint Magazine have just written about the development, focusing on the customer-led design approach which sees them buy space not rooms. The article also cites our long-term aim of hoUSe becoming the ‘designer brand of voume housebuilders’.


Estates Gazette meanwhile write that ‘next generation modular housing is on the march” and point out that hoUSe was driven by ‘DIY design’ meaning our customers configure and dictate layouts.

Both magazines are out now. Enjoy reading..!

Filed under: Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash, hoUSe

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Love for ladies’ day at Royal William Yard

July 6th, 2016 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Emily Handslip


We have so many events at Royal William Yard this summer; it’s a really exciting place to be.

This weekend, we’re celebrating the Wimbledon tennis finals with a ‘Ladies Day’ event at Royal William Yard. As well as showing tennis all week, the big screen on the lawn will be showing both the single and doubles finals for ladies day, with each guest receiving a glass of fizz from ID Fashion on arrival.

Our tenants are getting involved too; ID Fashion are giving the best dressed attendee a £50 voucher to spend in their store, plus a glass of fizz on arrival, while the Envy hair salon will give a £50 voucher to the best style they see on the day.

Other events coming up at the Yard include the Native Makers Market on 16th July, the next Good Food Market on 8th August, on while from 5th August, the Barbican Theatre’s performances of Romeo and Juliet!

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

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hoUSe gets Wired…

June 27th, 2016 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Tom Bloxham MBE


Great to read tech bible Wired’s view on hoUSe. Wired’s known for its dedication to reporting new trends and we’re thrilled our modular family housing is one of them!

Read more in this month’s edition or find out about the new hoUSes we’re selling at Irwell Riverside near Manchester here.

Filed under: New Islington, Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash, hoUSe

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Joining the Inner City Music Board

June 22nd, 2016 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Julian Curnuck


I’m delighted to have joined the board of Inner City Music - the charity that owns and operates Manchester’s Band on the Wall.

It’s a common theme at Urban Splash and many of my colleagues donate their time to endeavours like this, an important thing to do in our committment to the towns and cities we work in. Inner City aims to enrich peoples’ lives with music and culture so it’s completely in sync with my day job.

The main focus of my new role will  be helping the team behind Band on the Wall as they aim to increase its capacity to 500 people. I’m excited to be a part of that growth.

Filed under: Urban Splash

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We are very excited that the massive CIH Housing Conference is coming to Manchester and I am pleased to be speaking at the conference too!


To coincide with it on 30th June, we’re inviting CIH delegates to take a trip to nearby New Islington to come and see our modular hoUSe development; we’re labelling it as ‘Open hoUSe’. It will give delegates the chance to come and see the concept up close; touching and feeling the show hoUSe and seeing the wider regeneration around New Islington.

We’re offering a shuttle bus to New Islington on the hour every hour from Manchester Central; so either just turn up or email Chris Monkman for an appointment. Or, if you’d like to meet for a coffee at any point during the conference, please email Cathy Cunny who looks after my diary.

Our 2-minute film with George Clarke explaining the concept should whet your appetites until then and you can read more details about the concept here.

Filed under: New Islington, Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash, hoUSe

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Read about our ‘pioneering housing concept’

May 30th, 2016 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Tom Bloxham MBE


It’s been great reading about hoUSe in the national press recently. Our modular, family housing concept was covered in depth by The Telegraph and The Sunday Times recently, with the former calling it ‘a pioneering housing concept’.


Meanwhile, the Sunday Times, who referred to Urban Splash as ‘the developer that rescued decaying mills and warehouses’, visited the first hoUSe site in New Islington, interviewing a purchaser and concluding that hoUSe aims to  ‘turn buyers from passive consumers into architects of their own dream homes.’

Read the full Sunday Times article below…

Bespoke new builds on a budget

Urban Splash is the developer that rescued decaying mills and warehouses, pioneered “loft living” in Britain and transformed industrial wastelands into inner-city property hotspots. Now the Manchester-based firm has a revolutionary plan for the traditional family home — reinventing the Victorian terrace, building it in a factory and allowing buyers to play an active role in the design process.

Described as “the Grand Designs experience on a budget”, Urban Splash’s latest venture — “hoUSe” — aims to turn buyers from passive consumers into the architects of their own dream homes. Whereas owners of period terraces tend to move in and start knocking down walls to suit their needs, hoUSe will allow buyers to configure their home around their lifestyle while it’s still on the drawing board.

Each one will be built and assembled in a factory near Nottingham by SIG Building Systems, 
a company that specialises in timber panel construction, then assembled on site. The whole process takes about four months — compared to six for conventional bricks and mortar.

“Loads of things we buy now are bespoke — everything from cars to trainers,” says Jonathan Falkingham, co-founder and creative director of Urban Splash. “I compare hoUSe with buying a BMW. You specify what you want, then, a couple of months later, it comes off the production line.”

HoUSe buyers can opt for two or three storeys, and can choose to have a garden home (with the living spaces on the ground floor) or a loft (with a living space on the top floor, under an exposed pitched roof). They can decide to go fully open-plan or have more traditional segregated rooms, including up to five bedrooms.

There are various configurations of kitchens, bathrooms, storage, floor coverings and furnishings. And, because the walls are made from wooden panels (covered in a range of protective materials, including magnesia board, sealant and insulation), and those dividing rooms are not supporting walls, owners can easily add rooms as their family expands, or remove them when their offspring move out. In collaboration with architects at Shedkm, Urban Splash has taken pains to keep ceilings lofty and windows large, with pop-out windows — a modern, square version of a bay — on the top floor. The company also offers 1,000 sq ft of living space (or 1,500 sq ft for a three-storey home), compared with the typical 800 sq ft for new-builds.

“We think builders are way behind the curve, because nothing has really changed for 50 years,” Falkingham says. The architect founded Urban Splash with Tom Bloxham, an entrepreneur, in 1993, winning a string of Riba awards before almost going out of business when the housing market collapsed in 2008.

“The recession gave us pause for reflection,” he says. “What we saw was that if you’ve got a lot of money and you want a lovely house, you haven’t got a problem. It’s at the other end of the market where there isn’t much choice. There’s no flexibility, poor specification and a fixation on rooms, not space.”

Prices, inevitably, will depend on location, but the first hoUSe scheme is being built in New Islington, an area just north of Manchester’s city centre that has seen intense regeneration in the past decade. Prices start at £200,000 for a two-storey home, including a garden and parking, and about £300,000 for a three-storey house. So far, 14 of the latter have been completed — and all 43 properties in the development have been sold.

Planning permission has just been granted for a further 34 units at Smith’s Dock, in North Shields, on Tyneside, as well as 72 homes at Irwell Riverside, in Salford. Prices for those developments will be released later this year.

Andy Smith, 29, is just the sort of savvy buyer Urban Splash had in mind when it began working on hoUSe. The fresh-faced entrepreneur moved into his property in New Islington at the beginning of the year and has been busy adapting it to his needs, adding an ensuite wet room alongside his bedroom/office on the third storey.

“I like the size and the fact that you can do what you want with it,” says Smith, founder of From the Fields, the events company behind music festivals such as Kendal Calling and Forgotten Fields. “I looked at older properties, but I couldn’t find anything in my budget — or, if I did, there was a problem with subsidence or something. And there wasn’t the space.”

Smith agrees that there is a gap in the market for people like him, who would like their own home, but aren’t ready to sacrifice their lively urban lifestyle for a conventional suburban new-build. With the assistance of the government’s Help to Buy scheme for first-time purchasers, he could afford the £305,000 asking price. He even had the odd experience of watching his hoUSe being delivered.

“It was amazing,” he recalls. “I happened to be walking past, and I saw the bottom storey being put in position. I popped to a coffee shop, then, on the way back, the whole thing was there.”

It’s tempting to make disparaging comparisons with Ikea flatpacks, but Urban Splash insists that this is to misunderstand the process. “People already make houses like this, but on site,” Falkingham says. “We’re not doing anything radical in that sense — it’s established technology. We’re just building it in a factory. And the production standards are much, much higher than on a site.”

Rather than the Swedish purveyor of flatpack furniture, Urban Splash prefers comparisons with Vitra, a Swiss firm that manufactures works by many internationally renowned furniture designers. It’s all part of a long-term vision to become “a sort of designer brand of housebuilding”. For its next “product”, called Mansion House, the company plans to take the Georgian terrace and adapt it for modern living.

“We started out with this really simple proposition — to make well-designed, affordable housing,” Falkingham says. “I don’t think we’re trying to upset the apple cart. We just want to offer something different, because we think there is a demand for it.”

Filed under: Manchester, New Islington, Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash, hoUSe

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