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2016-02-26

Andrew Dewhurst – Director at Maple Grove Developments, part of the Eric Wright Group

Written by Andrew Dewhurst

The buzz in Manchester is much more profound than that created by the famous bees that represent the City’s industrial heritage. And it stretches much further too: across the North West of England and into the whole of the Northern Powerhouse region.

Manchester is a dynamic city with a property market to match and a construction sector that is supporting growth by creating the built environment and infrastructure needed to attract investment and support commerce. The Eric Wright Group, with its expertise across the fields of commercial and residential development, construction, civil engineering, facilities management and healthcare, is one of the players that are helping to realise the Northern Powerhouse vision on the ground, in Manchester and across the North West.

While the Eric Wright Group is a company forged in Lancashire, with its roots still firmly embedded in the county, its work across the North has led to expansion into Manchester and the opening of our first office in the City in 2015.

The firsts continue this year, with 2016 marking our inaugural trip to MIPIM as a partner on the Manchester stand; a decision that reiterates our commitment to the City and Greater Manchester, its vision and goals and positions us in illustrious company.

Our partnership with the City reflects the growing footprint of the Eric Wright Group across Greater Manchester. Our construction division is on site in Stockport delivering the £145 million Stockport Exchange development, involving both office accommodation and a new hotel.  We are also on site at a 53,000 sq ft office scheme in Stockport town centre, constructing a new headquarters for Stockport Homes. These build on our track record in the city centre, which includes a showpiece office project at Spinningfields’ One Hardman Street for Allied London.

Outside of Greater Manchester, Lancashire is increasingly attractive as a commercial location and offers significant investment potential. With history in the county that goes back more than 90 years, the Eric Wright Group has an unparalleled understanding of the county’s property and construction sector and an enviable client base.

We are Lancashire County Council’s regeneration partner, working with the local authority to maximise the value of its surplus assets and help bring forward strategic sites. We are also involved in a number of commercial schemes across East and West Lancashire.

Maple Grove Developments completed the first phase of a 200,000 sq ft mixed use scheme in Blackburn’s Cathedral Quarter last year, forward selling the project’s office building to Legal & General and Premier Inn hotel to Lancashire County Pension Fund.

We  have also recently completed the redevelopment of the Teanlowe Centre in Poulton-le-Fylde, which includes a 34,000 sq ft Booths store and 14 other retail units, and a 150,000 sq ft distribution depot at J31 of the M62 which was delivered in partnership with Yorvale and Kier.

As a company, our commitment to the region is not just about contributing to the built environment and commercial growth, we are also investing in improving the lives of the people who live here and raising aspirations for the future. Since 1986 the Group, which is now wholly owned by the Eric Wright Charitable Trust, has been encouraging the education and development of young people and recently partnered with Preston’s College to develop future construction talent for the sector. The Trust also owns and operates Lakeland Adventure Centre, an outdoor adventure centre in Cumbria and played a leading role launching the new Eric Wright Learning Foundation construction centre at Preston’s College.

Personally, this will be my first visit to MIPIM and I will be joined by my colleagues, non-executive director, Cath Wilson, head of pre-construction, Peter Barr and business development manager, Phil Sayle, all of whom are looking forward to hearing some of the latest views and ideas from the sector in Cannes.