Overlooked: A new arts exhibition at Park Hill

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015


I’m delighted that we’ve now launched the ‘Overlooked’ art exhibition at Park Hill which showcases the work of five Sheffield-based artists.

More than 200 people came to the exhibition opening; from residents to artists to historians researching the iconic architecture of the site. The weather was beautiful and the evening sunshine flooding through the window really set off the space.

The exhibition initially came about when artist Mandy Payne - whose art is on display at Overlooked and whose paintings are inspired by Park Hill’s Brutalist architecture – approached Urban Splash.  I then got involved in January this year as an Art Consultant while  S1 Artspace supported the curation of the show.

It’s a terrific exhibition which will run for three weeks and is the first in a year long programme of arts events I have programmed at The Scottish Queen. For somewhere which was formerly known as Britain’s second most dangerous pub, our events are quite the polar opposite of what this place used to be.

Come and see the display and enjoy a pint of beer with us, we’re here until 10th May with ‘Overlooked’ then our next exhibition with Sheffield Hallam University will open on Friday 22nd May. Artist and Professor of Sculpture Keith Wilson will be leading a project-based workshop around the history and Brutalist architecture of the Park Hill site for his 1st Year Fine Art and Creative Art Practice students.  This will culminate in a work-in-progress exhibition open to the public showcasing their creative responses.

In the meantime you can read more about the current exhibition here.

Filed under: Park Hill, Urban Splash No comments

A stylish addition to Stalybridge

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

long_salon_blog1_sqWe’ve recently welcomed a new tenant at Longlands Mill in Stalybridge, a fantastic and stylish addition to the building. Here, Industry’s founder Tiffany McGlashan guest blogs about her new venture…

“I’m so excited to be launching our new hair, beauty and nail salon in my hometown of Stalybridge. We’re opening up in the mill building at Urban Splash’s Longlands scheme - a beautiful Grade II listed building which means our salon’s complete with beautiful original beams, pillars and brickwork.

“I decided to launch my own salon having spent the past two decades working in some of Manchester’s top hair salons, and have brought a team of fantastic stylists with me to Stalybridge. I know that the local people in the area will love the concept - were bringing a Manchester city centre level service without the prices.

“The help of our landlord Urban Splash has also been great and they’ve supported us throughout the process of setting up the salon. They’re keen to see a number of businesses flourish at Longlands and it’s great to be a part of their vision.

“So, if you are in the area and want to see our offering, please pop in. We’re offering 20% off services and treatments on your first visit, just call 0161 338 8331 and quote ‘Urban Splash’ when you book. We are also hosting an event on 2nd May at which we’ll have a catwalk show, live DJ and matrix goodie bag - all are welcome!”


Filed under: Longlands, Stalybridge, Urban Splash No comments

More new commercial tenants

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015


Many people think ‘loft apartments’ or ‘ground breaking housing projects’ when asked what Urban Splash develop, but we have a huge commercial portfolio too, one million sq. ft. and growing by the day! So it’s great to make announcements about recent letting successes on our commercial space right across the country.

Our space is bursting with some great businesses including our latest tenants who’ve between them taken 9,000 sq ft of space at schemes like Royal William Yard in Plymouth, Ducie House in Manchester and Slater Studios in Liverpool.


Below is a list of all of the new tenants who’ve joined us, take a look at the links and learn more about this great collection of businesses…

Wildwood restaurant have moved to Royal William Yard and our existing tenant WWA has expanded its space

Hair Industry has opened at Longlands

HE Simm, Intex Systems and JDA Liverpool have taken space at our various schemes in Liverpool’s Ropewalks district

Made by Jam Limited have moved to Mersey House

And finally, Wild Business Radio, Leesa Sleep Limited, Heaney Watson, Left Media and Vedo have all taken space at Ducie House

Filed under: Urban Splash No comments

We’ve started on site at Stubbs

April 20th, 2015 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Paul Jones


We’ve now started work on site at Stubbs Mill – our newest commercial development in Manchester.

The interesting looking building was once a machine works which assembled machinery for the cotton mills in and around Ancoats. Disused for over ten years, it is now being transformed into 30,000 sq ft of workspaces situated alongside the Ashton Canal and close to the New Islington tram stop.

It’s a scheme which reinforces our commercial portfolio - many people think we’re just residential developers but we’ve already got more than 1million sq ft of office, retail and leisure space around the UK. Stubbs and other future developments will grow this even further…

The building is also the next exciting development at New Islington – our vast site on the Northern fringe of Manchester city centre. There we’ve already got more than 10,000 sq ft of commercial space occupied by tenants like FabLabFloat Level and the Little Learning Ladder Nursery.  There are also 142 homes in Chips, the Cotton Field Park, a Marina, a health centre and the New Islington Free School. We’re also in the process of adding the first hoUSes there – our revolutionary housing concept which we’re launching in Manchester this summer.

So if you’re a business in Manchester and are looking for a unique and exciting place to base your company, drop me a line. Or you can read what the press had to say about our start on site using the links below:

Manchester Evening News

About MCR


Place North West

Filed under: Manchester, Urban Splash No comments

My 22nd MIPIM

April 13th, 2015 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Tom Bloxham MBE

mipim_sqLife’s back to normal now the Easter break is over and I’ve finally recovered from MIPIM earlier in the month.

Here’s a look back at the key event in the international property calendar…

Another year done at MIPIM; the property industry’s annual chance to descend on Cannes.

This year was my 22nd MIPIM; it’s hosted in the South of France and is a chance to do business, make new contacts, initiate deals and have a bit of fun - what’s not to like!

It felt serious this year, and was not the ‘freshers week for surveyors’ I’d feared. As ever, I came away invigorated by the work people in the industry are doing and am now full of new ideas, new connections and perhaps a little too much Rosé!

One of the best parts for me is my post MIPIM BBQ on the Friday. It started as a very quiet wind down for me and a few friends at my house, but since seems to have developed its own energy! Thank you again to all who came along. Rather than try and put it into words, I’ll leave it to the bloggers below to share their experiences of the day with you…

John Forbes: “I did get to go to what is undoubtedly the best party at MIPIM - the annual Friday barbecue at Tom Bloxham’s villa in Tourrettes sur Loup. Not only do I get to turn up in sweaty lycra after cycling up the unfeasibly steep hill to the house, I get to rub shoulders with architects and other talented people, which for a mere beancounter makes for an uplifting end to MIPIM. Tom’s villa, Maison Bulle, is also a structural marvel.”

Nick Riley’s blog The Life of Riley“The house was an incredible experience. I’ve never seen anything like it and it inspired me as an Architect. It’s proof that anything is possible (or “Tout est Possible” as Lovag would say).”

Phil Coffey for his Architects Journal blog: “1am at the Bloxham house. What goes to Tom’s stays at Tom’s. But it’s fair to say that, as an architect who considers that architecture can change people’s lives for the better, this place is inspirational. A place made from the proceeds of a transformation of a down and out city (my home town of Manchester), the refurbishment of iconic buildings and the enthusiasm, skill and the sheer ballsy nature of its owner - it is a place we can all learn from. I’m a lucky man to be able to experience it but it remains the main reason MIPIM is so important to me. For all the money and the apparent carelessness of the construction industry this place shows that you can care about people, place and culture and make money for your investors; if only everyone had the same brilliance to pull it off. Back to London on Monday full of intent to make a difference. Checking out.”

Back at my desk in Manchester it all seems a long time ago and a long way away…

If you are planning to attend MIPIM next year, take a look at my old blog of MIPIM top tips which originally featured in the Architects Journal, they’ll help you sail through the event in 2016.

Filed under: Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash No comments

Creating ‘fabulous environments’!

April 9th, 2015 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Nathan Cornish


I recently received a lovely email from a lady living in Plymouth who took the time to write to us and tell us what she thought about the work we’ve done at the city’s Royal William Yard.

Letters like these really do put a smile on my face; we worked so hard to retain the heritage of the area and its integral to the whole scheme, so it’s great when people share their memories of what was there and what it has now become.

As she mentions in her correspondence, our next challenge in Plymouth will be working on the Civic Centre, you can read more about what we’re planning here.

In the meantime, you can read an excerpt of the letter below.


Dear Mr Cornish,

I come from a long and continuing line of architects and quantity surveyors and grew up in Plymouth, so this comes as a big thank you. Personally, I fall on  the artistic temperament side prone to attacks of the vapours and could not draw a straight line to save my life.

As a little girl growing up in Plymouth (although not a native, father in Royal Navy) we often caught the Cremyll  foot ferry from the King Billy dockyard to walk to Rame  and picnic at Cawsand.  I can only applaud what you have done (I recognise not personally but with a team…but please take all the credit ) at the dockyard.  It is spectacular and inspiring and truly lifts my heart whenever I visit (quite frequently even though I no longer live in the area). To breathe life into old buildings without destroying the integrity and soul  as you do is so commendable and laudable.

I have connections with Manchester too – my sister and her family have lived there for years so we have all been aware  of other projects the company has undertaken and appreciate your company vision (good name too).

I remember the Civic Centre being built and the public were able to get the lift up to the top floor and “admire the views”  for many years - it is an iconic building and part of the whole post war rebuild which still causes debate….I will say all those town centre buildings  with the sun shining off them is migraine city.  I remember as a child in the 60s large areas of Plymouth still war damaged, particularly the  Drakes Circus area…  I am so thrilled to read that you will be taking on the project  and excited to see what you will do with the whole area – maintaining ponds and fountains please!   To me it is all about the  evocation of the sights and memories.

So please be suitably smug and wave this around at the next board meeting to confirm that you create fabulous environments – it’s not just about the awards (admittedly they are pretty impressive) but it’s creating spaces ordinary people like me appreciate and recognise for their brilliance.


Filed under: Mills Bakery, Plymouth, Royal William Yard, Urban Splash No comments

Setting sail once more at the Yard

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015


It’s my favourite time of year - the time when I can set sail once more and relaunch Royal William Yard’s ferry service.

After a long winter break, I was able to get back on the water on Saturday and start taking passengers from the Yard around to Plymouth’s Barbican.  It’s a wonderful job to do; our journey takes us out onto the water, where we can see beautiful sights like Devil’s Point and Devenport, before pulling in to the Barbican just half an hour away.

Each year, more and more people use the service, especially now there’s so much going on at the Yard itself; as the days warm up the restaurants on the front are bustling with visitors all of whom like to start or end their journey on the water.


We’ll now be running until the autumn and our service leaves the Yard every hour on the hour from 10am Monday through to Sunday. We then leave the Barbican on the half hour every hour for return journeys. Click here for more information - I hope to see you soon.


Filed under: Mills Bakery, Plymouth, Royal William Yard, Urban Splash No comments


I was delighted to see that Property Week had shortlisted Fort Dunlop as one of the best buildings to be developed in the UK in the past 20 years. I’m so proud to keep seeing it getting recognition, it’s already won 18 awards including the prestigious BCO Test of Time Award.


Fort Dunlop was a great success story for us and one of the best examples of what we do. We transformed it from a disused tyre factory - one that stood in a very prominent position overlooking the M6 motorway in Birmingham - and instead created a fantastic commercial hub. It featured 345,000 sq ft of office and leisure space and from the day we opened the doors in December 2006 we kept it more than 90% let. We bought it as a wreck, developed it filled it and sold it in 2014 to Tristan Capital - a top institutional fund.


We were able to do that because the space was so well designed by shedkm it even featured a huge green roof which we and tenants used for many an event.

Find out more about the building and its history here.

Filed under: Fort Dunlop, Urban Splash No comments

Stairway to Devon

We’ve collected over 365 awards in 21 years of Urban Splash, includingr 15 new awards in 2014.

Our Stairway to Devon at Royal William Yard connecting the South West Coast Path was a favourite in ‘14. We saw it commended in The Civic Trust Awards, collect AJ’s Small Projects Sustainability Prize and the Judges’ Special Award at the Abercrombie Awards - celebrating the scheme that has contributed most to the city since the awards began. The staircase was also recognised as Best Smaller Development Project. As a RIBA South West Award winner, it was also shortlisted for the prestigious RIBA Stephen Lawrence Prize.

Saxton in Leeds was also voted the country’s ‘Most Innovative Redevelopment’ by readers of First Time Buyer Magazine.

With four awards from the RIBA, we’ve now received more than 50 accolades from the architectural body. This Pinterest board is a collection of them…


We celebrated a new working partnership at Park Hill.

Working on a joint venture basis with Places for People, we started work on the next phase at Park Hill, creating 182 new homes in the second phase of the scheme.

Work is moving along nicely and we plan to launch the next phase of new homes for sale early this year.

Our favourite brutalist building was also featured in Dezeen as a celebration of classic brutalist architecture from around the world.

Spring saw another new Pear-ing with a great partner. We were delighted to announce another new joint venture relationship with The Pears Group. Included in the deal were a number of buildings from our commercial portfolio.


We’re proud of our people, and proud that they want to stay with us. We had a great few sunny days in summer hosting our “lifers” trip at Maison Bulle in the south of France. This trip marked over 10 years of hard work at Urban Splash for a number of colleagues who have supported us across a host of different roles.

By working together as a team over the last 21 years, we have been able to create something quite special! More later on new opportunities to become part of our team…


Co-founder of Urban Splash Jonathan Falkingham MBE was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University. Receiving the honour for his contribution to entrepreneurship and regeneration in Merseyside - including great schemes like Concert Square, Ropewalks and the Matchworks in Liverpool.


We were honoured to welcome HRH The Prince of Wales to Royal William Yard in July to celebrate 10 years of Urban Splash’s involvement in the scheme. HRH was impressed at the transformation, saying it had been “fascinating to see it come back into use and to see so many people enjoying it.”


A wealth of deals came to fruition in 2014. We reached a grand total of 156,000 sq ft of regional deals for the North West commercial portfolio alone. We announced Liverpool’s largest letting of the year with 65,000 sq ft of space at Matchworks going to Amey, as part of an amazing 140,000 sq ft of deals completed by us in the city.


We said goodbye to one our favourite schemes, selling Fold Dunlop to Tristan Episo Fund. Having transformed the redundant tyre factory in Birmingham and kept it at more than 97% let, the development is one of our greatest successes.

October saw the start of a new year for US. Having released our accounts, announcing our turnover has passed £100 million for the first time ever and that we’ve returned to profit and have now restructured all our historic debt.


Our partnership with Places for People goes from strength to strength as another exciting new masterplan is underway. Former shipyard Smith’s Dock is to be given a new lease of life, as planning permission is granted on the first phase of new homes. The Riverside regeneration project in North Shields will bring over 800 new homes to the area when completed.


In New Islington news, we’ve recently appointed architects sixtwo to transform Stubbs Mill. We’ll be announcing our plans for 30,000 sq ft of flexible commercial space this year… it’s going to make the most amazing workspace in Manchester!


We saw the year out with the early bird launch of hoUSe! A new build terraced family house in the city; and because its our hoUSe, we’ve made it extra special! I’m as excited about this project as I was about the first one 20 years ago when we decided to built loft apartments in the city centre.

New Islington became home to our new family housing concept hoUSe. You can design your own home overlooking the Marina, with loads of space, high ceilings, big windows and between 1,000 - 1,500 sq ft of space.

Here’s a short animation explaining our hoUSe concept, and my blog about this big idea.

So what does 2015 have in store for us?

hoUSe finds its next home with views aplenty as our first 34 new homes are set to arrive in Smith’s Dock, North Shields this year.

A ‘Hub of Creative Excellence’ at Royal William Yard. Applications are still open for the new artists studios at Ocean Studios in Factory Cooperage. When it’s finished later this year, it will offer space for 100 artists, a gallery and workshop facilities.

We’re recruiting - would you like to join US or know someone else who might?

We’re on the look out for the people to fill a number of new roles, in sales and lettings, residential management, development and more. If you’d like to join our team, take a look at the latest vacancies on our website and learn more on what its like to work for us

Over the last 21 years Urban Splash has developed 60 schemes worth in excess of £1 billion, helped create 1000’s of homes, jobs, and transformed over 5 million sq ft of commercial space. We have created one of the few property brands to have survived the last recession, forming fantastic joint ventures and building up an 800-unit PRS portfolio, with a pipeline of a further 2,000 units.

I’m often asked which has been my favourite redevelopment scheme, and I always say “the next one”.

Here’s hoping for a good year!

Filed under: Concert Square, Fort Dunlop, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Matchworks, Park Hill, Royal William Yard, Saxton, Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash, hoUSe No comments

Grand Designs on our hoUSe

November 27th, 2014 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Tom Bloxham MBE

Grand Designs Magazine

Great to see our very own grand idea hoUSe featured in this months Grand Designs Magazine;  our tailor made solution to a daunting self build project.

‘The revolutionary developer has teamed up with award-winning architect shedkm to launch its bespoke house-building service called hoUSe. You choose the size, number of rooms, number of storeys and the layout for your terraced house and it takes care of the rest.’

Want to live in our hoUSe? Here’s one we made earlier…


Filed under: Affordable homes, Manchester, Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash No comments