City Regeneration Series: Episode 3 with Ian Gray of Homes England and Stuart Howie of Avison Young

Ian Gray, project director at Homes England and Network Rail, and Stuart Howie, head of Avison Young’s regeneration business, joined together in this PropCast to discuss the progress being made at York Central, a £700 million mixed use regeneration scheme around the station.

Despite the problems facing the real estate sector as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown, both speakers believe there’s no better time for the project to push forward.

Howie argues that the smooth delivery of York Central will depend on firstly, the sponsors, resources and people that drive the project forward, the scheme’s viability, and market appetite. 

“A long-term project is always going to go through cycles. So, if you can be developing and de-risking it, getting some tenants in to get phase one away, so you’re hitting the uptick of the economy, there’s no better time to launch a major scheme,” he says.

Currently the York Central scheme has been pushed through planning with outline consent set at 2,500 new homes and 1 million sq ft of commercial space for the first phase.

 “We have to push the densities. Clearly with the nature of the site viability has always been a question. Our job as master developers is to really push the planning consent as much as we can to get what is a fantastic opportunity for the city,” Gray says. 

Gray believes York Central, a project that has been in planning for some 20 years, will successfully deliver on the government’s agenda around vacant public land and the best use for it by bringing a valuable piece of York city centre to life. Meanwhile, the scheme will tap into the government’s major infrastructure projects such as HS2 and the Northern Powerhouse.

Participants

Ian Gray

Project Director for York Central

Homes England

Stuart Howie

Head of Regeneration

Avison Young

Andrew Teacher

Managing Director

Blackstock Consulting