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PIC policyholders join partners to celebrate New Victoria topping out

Pension Insurance Corporation plc (‘PIC’), a specialist insurer of defined benefit pension funds, Muse, a national urban regeneration firm, and contractor VINCI, are pleased to announce the topping out of construction at the New Victoria Build-to-Rent development in Manchester today, attended by some of PIC’s policyholders. Once complete, the revenue from New Victoria will help to pay the pensions of PIC’s c.300,000 policyholders over future decades.

Muse is the developer for the project and has worked at New Victoria for a number of years to create the vision and prime the site ready for regeneration. Muse is one of the UK’s leading developers, specialising in complex, long-term regeneration and is part of Morgan Sindall Group. VINCI Building have been the main contractor for the project and the development has been supported by Network Rail, Manchester City Council and Homes England.

The topping out of construction was marked by a ceremony with senior leaders from Manchester City Council; Homes England; Tracy Blackwell, PIC’s chief executive; David Burkinshaw, development director, Muse; and Garry Bowker, regional director for the North West at VINCI.

PIC invested £130 million to fund the construction of New Victoria, its first Build-to-Rent project, in September 2020. The development has repurposed a former car park adjacent to Manchester Victoria station, generating considerable social value. The development, once considered unviable due to a Victorian culvert running under the site, showcases what is possible through close collaboration between long-term investor, developer, contractor and the local authority.

Social value creation

- Over the course of the development more than £40 million has gone directly into Greater Manchester’s economy through local employment, businesses and material sourcing.
- The development has employed 550 people during construction. - In total, more than 2,000 people will have worked directly on the project and 3,000 apprentice weeks will be run over the course of the construction.
- The development is at the forefront for local education and work experience opportunities in the construction industry, supporting students with work experience and internship opportunities, including:
o Supporting the Governments’ Kick Start Placements scheme providing training to young people with the highest risk of unemployment.
o Providing presentations on careers and pathways into the construction industry to the Greater Manchester Youth Network (children in or leaving care).
o The site team and supply chain working with the Release on Temporary Licence scheme, with three operatives on site.
- 99.5% of waste at the site has been recycled, reused, or disposed of in more environmentally friendly ways thereby avoiding landfill. A typical construction project would dispose of 8%
- 10% of waste created through landfill.
- All electricity used at the site has been procured through renewable energy suppliers.
- In addition, New Victoria is also one of the first developments to be designed to achieve maximum water usage of 100 litres per person per day, which is 25% more efficient than current building regulations require.

Tracy Blackwell, CEO at PIC, said: “We’re incredibly proud to mark the topping out of our first Build-to-Rent development. Not only has this development incorporated leading design features including on safety and environmental standards, it has also seen the creation of considerable social value through jobs and education. As recently as five years ago, many thought construction on this site would never happen, but standing here today I’m delighted by what can be achieved by a group of forward thinking, innovative and committed teams working together with a shared vision.

“PIC has invested £600 million so far in similar projects around the country, and we look forward to investing considerably more as our business continues to grow and we seek to back the pensions of our policyholders with long-term, secure cashflows.”

David Burkinshaw, development director at Muse, said: “We’re delighted to welcome both partners and PIC policyholders to the scheme as we mark this huge milestone at New Victoria. Our work here is transforming an underutilised gateway site that needed regeneration, into a vibrant place that provides much-needed homes in the city centre, alongside some of the best amenities around. This can only be achieved in partnership with likeminded businesses, who share a common goal to deliver the best for the community.

“As a business we’re all about creating great places with purpose, that drive investment and opportunity, that helps to build a brighter future for the people of Manchester, and New Victoria goes a long way to achieving that.”

Garry Bowker, regional director for the North West at VINCI Building, said: “It is a privilege to be delivering New Victoria on behalf of PIC and Muse. Working together in partnership we have overcome numerous challenges associated with the site and stand here today on programme, well on the way to completing what will be a truly transformative development for this part of the city centre.

“Not only will New Victoria push boundaries in terms of the quality of the end product, we have strived to push boundaries throughout the delivery stage in terms of Social Value and Considerate Constructors, with the project team being presented with an award from the High Sheriff of Greater Manchester for their social value activities.”