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Sunday, March 3, 2024


Downtown Salford Ltd, part of the McGoff Group, has successfully completed a multi-million pound deal with Aviva, selling the freehold of its flagship 374 apartment development, Downtown, located on Woden Street.

For the McGoff Group, the deal signals the culmination of a hugely successful £85m city centre scheme, whilst Aviva benefits from long term annual ground rents which will support its future investments and pension plans.

The McGoff Group heralds its success to the one-stop-shop nature of conception, project delivery and asset management. The scheme was designed and delivered by McGoff Construction, with Downtown being sold to an international buy-to-let market, all off plan and in record time, which allowed the development to be delivered one year ahead of schedule to Aviva. Downtown has also provided much needed rental accommodation to Manchester’s burgeoning population.

The Group now also block manage the development with an on-site property management team and provide letting services for tenants.

Prior to purchase, Aviva also carried out intense scrutiny of Downtown, reviewing the build and ongoing maintenance, as well as ensuring all fire regulations were met and appropriate cladding documents in place.

Paul Danks, Group Business Director at the McGoff Group, comments: “The sale of the freehold to Aviva, such a reputable company, marks a major milestone for Downtown.

“The underlying factor is that Downtown is a high quality scheme that has been built to the highest standards, and the Group’s approach to building maintenance is excellent, which ultimately attracted Aviva to the development. Its interrogation of Downtown was thorough, and we met every element of the strict criteria, allowing the deal to progress.”

The McGoff Group worked with Beyond Corporate on the deal. James Flynn, partner at Beyond Corporate, adds: “We have worked with the McGoff Group every step of the way on Downtown, dealing with the acquisition contract, planning phase, funding agreements, construction documents, unit sales and eventually the freehold sale, as well as lots of smaller issues along the way. It has been a pleasure to be involved in the scheme and great to see it come to such a successful conclusion for all concerned.”

Chris McGoff, Director at the McGoff Group, concludes: “What we have achieved at Downtown is a symbol of what the Group has become and showcases our very sophisticated skill sets.

“Success in delivering projects of this scale is all about speed of sales, absolute discipline in cost control and construction procurement, and meeting the promises you make to lenders and clients by delivering on time and on budget. Getting the sales pace wrong, by not tapping into the international investor base correctly, and disconnecting the build to third parties, drives peak debt costs and inherently creates risk for funders and buyers as you lose control of what you are doing, and your scheme profit very quickly turns to brick dust. The longer your development remains the product of delay, the longer you are exposed to external influences beyond your control and the pandemic has only heightened this view.

“We not only source land, manage the planning process whilst driving efficiency in design, but we are also traditional builders, international sales specialists, asset managers and letting agents. We have built this reputation not just in the residential arena, but the Group’s New Care business is now recognised as one of the leading development-led care home operators in the UK.

“The unblemished track record and skill set we have fostered has enabled us to transact with leading lending institutions, UK funds and US REITs on a repeat basis, and it is fantastic to be able to add Aviva to this stable.”

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