MEPC and Federated Hermes to deliver net zero carbon speculative NOMA office development

MEPC is to speculatively develop a 200,000 sq ft office development with Federated Hermes at NOMA, a major regeneration project in Manchester city centre.

4 Angel Square will aim to set new benchmarks for sustainable commercial property development, and MEPC, which is the development and asset manager for NOMA, will be working closely with main contractor Bowmer + Kirkland to reduce embodied carbon from the construction process.

The 200,000 sq ft office scheme will be an operational net zero carbon building and is recognised as a LETI Pioneer project. On top of securing an EPC A rating for 4 Angel Square, MEPC is also aiming for an Outstanding BREEAM rating, with a minimum rating of Excellent guaranteed.

Paul Pavia, head of development at MEPC, says: “With widespread public and business support for a true ‘green recovery’ after the pandemic is over, we only expect occupier and investor demand for high quality, sustainable workspace to grow further, which is why we have committed to making 4 Angel Square operationally net zero carbon, raising the standard for sustainable office development.
“Commercial real estate was already beginning to recognise the importance of genuinely incorporating sustainability into the design and operation of buildings as being crucial to de-risking and future-proofing assets. Our recent acquisition by Federated Hermes gives us a fully vertically integrated delivery structure, which allows us to progress complex projects like this fully in line with Federated Hermes’ sustainability commitments.”

The focus on sustainability at 4 Angel Square follows Federated Hermes signing the Better Buildings Partnership’s 2050 net zero portfolios pledge in September 2019.

Embodied and operational carbon at 4 Angel Square will be looked to be offset through investment into energy efficient and renewable projects across NOMA as well the wider Federated Hermes portfolio, which includes Wellington Place in Leeds.

Sharon Brown, Director – Real Estate Risk and Environmental Impact at Federated Hermes, says: “The climate crisis requires an urgent and unified response. As responsible investors, Federated Hermes fully embraces the absolute need to support the development of sustainable buildings which not only deliver against net zero objectives but also create healthy and more attractive spaces for our occupiers of the future.
“At the heart of our approach is our commitment to creating the ‘meaningful city’ – or places that people want to live and work in, and which foster a sense of belonging among inhabitants. We see the development of 4 Angel Square as a key development in delivering this approach in this key area of Manchester.”
Once completed, the development will bring over 2,000 new workers to NOMA, who will join the already thriving community of businesses, residents and creatives that have made the neighbourhood their home.

The build contract has been signed and works will start on-site this year, with completion due in early 2023.

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, says: “NOMA is playing a crucial role in revitalising a key part of Manchester city centre and today’s announcement is welcome news that will create jobs and drive investment into the city. Cities will need to move quickly to mitigate the economic impact of Covid-19 and it’s major projects such as this that help drive vital growth - and signals a city that remains attractive for development.”
Designed by Manchester-based architect SimpsonHaugh, 4 Angel Square will sit on the corner of Corporation Street and Miller Street and form a key part of the emerging business district within the NOMA neighbourhood.

The 11-storey office building features a hotel-style entrance lobby and reception area and a c2,500 sq ft external 10th floor roof terrace. On the ground floor, 7,000 sq ft of retail space will be provided and split over two units, together with a separate ground-floor office suite perfect for a start-up or small business. The use of smart building technology is a key part of the design.

The ground-floor retail space will help activate the new public square that is planned for next to 4 Angel Square which will connect to the existing public realm surrounding One Angel Square.

The public square will also connect 4 Angel Square to 2 & 3 Angel Square, which will collectively deliver 600,000 sq ft of Grade A new-build office space once built.

The colonnade and coloured façade of 4 Angel Square will help connect the building to the listed estate at NOMA, where Amazon has opened its first UK HQ outside of London. The global e-commerce giant announced it would be taking Hanover, a redeveloped drapery warehouse, in October last year.
Stephen Bradley, Director – Investment Management at Federated Hermes, said: “We are confident in the Manchester market, which is why we are continuing to develop 4 Angel Square speculatively, and believe Manchester stands to benefit from changes in occupier demands post-coronavirus. While work patterns will undoubtedly change, there will always be demand for well located, high quality, highly sustainable workspace.”
Elsewhere in the listed estate, practical completion was recently achieved at Redfern, a former warehouse and office building, that has been redeveloped into 25,000 sq ft of office space with 7,600 sq ft of mixed ground-floor retail and leisure space. 

NOMA is also adapting the fit out of Dantzic, another refurbished historic building where 45,000 sq ft of contemporary workspace is available, to be more flexible and appealing to smaller occupiers post-pandemic. 
Federated Hermes, which recently acquired MEPC, is the investment manager of the NOMA development and manages the 20-acre neighbourhood on behalf of an institutional investor.

Peter Gallagher, director at Colliers, says: “Driven by surging occupier demand, there were a shortage of available Grade A office space in Manchester and this won’t have disappeared after the pandemic. 4 Angel Square will provide much needed high quality workspace and the fact it is being developed speculatively is a huge vote of confidence in Manchester.”
James Devany, director at JLL, says: “Sustainability was already rising up the agenda before COVID-19 struck but after the pandemic the search will be on for office space that is well designed and genuinely sustainable. 4 Angel Square ticks both boxes and we are confident interest in the development will be strong.”
JLL and Colliers are retained office agents for NOMA.