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Chinese firm plans Manchester high-rises

By ANGUS McNEICE | China Daily UK | Updated: 2017-03-20 18:23

Hong Kong-based developer Far East Consortium International has unveiled plans for a 200 million pound($247.4 million) residential development in Manchester.

FEC will erect four buildings - one with nine floors, a 17-floor block, a 22-level tower and one with 41 floors. Together, they will comprise 754 new homes bordering Manchester's Angel Meadow Park.

Once one of the United Kingdom's most infamous 19th century industrial slums, Angel Meadow has been transformed during the past two decades, and FEC's project promises to rank among the most significant aspects of the area's regeneration.

Gavin Taylor, FEC's regional general manager, said: "Our plans are to build over 700 new homes of mixed tenure across the four plots, while bringing new commercial and leisure uses to street level, and bringing the park itself into the heart of the community."

The high-rises will contain one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments designed by UK-based 5plus Architects. The designs are being shared during a public consultation process that will last until April 7, after which a planning application will be submitted to Manchester City Council. Construction is expected to start at the end of the year, with the first homes due to be finished in 2019.

Jon Matthews, director of 5plus Architects, said: "Angel Meadow Park is a much-cherished amenity and by developing new homes around it, we hope to see the area thrive."

FEC was founded in 1972 by Hong Kong entrepreneur Deacon Chiu. His son David Chiu now chairs the consortium, and his daughter Winnie Chiu is president of hotelier Dorsett Hospitality International, an FEC subsidiary. The Chiu family operates under the so-called "Chinese wallet" strategy, in which developers acquire and improve hotels and real estate in areas that attract large numbers of Chinese tourists and residents. FEC's overseas portfolio includes property in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, the UK wand New Zealand.

Manchester has the third-largest proportion of Chinese residents in the UK, behind Cambridge and London's Tower Hamlets neighborhood, according to the 2011 census.

Sixty-four thousand Chinese tourists visited the north of England in 2015, up from 35,000 in 2014. Direct flights between Beijing and Manchester began last year.

Chinese entities have invested in several infrastructure and real estate projects in Manchester in recent years.

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