Rowsley to invest in real estate and hospitality businesses in Manchester

The Hotel Football at Old Trafford, in Manchester.
The Hotel Football at Old Trafford, in Manchester.PHOTO: ROWSLEY

SINGAPORE - Singapore-listed real estate and architecture company Rowsley is investing in a £200 million (S$400 million) project in Manchester.

In an announcement filed to Singapore Exchange on Thursday, Rowsley said it will pay around £40 million to acquire a 75 per cent stake in the project named St Michael's.

The 1.43-acre site is in the city centre of Manchester near the Town Hall, and will comprise a five-star hotel, luxury apartments, high quality office space, restaurants and bars.

Beijing Construction Engineering Group will own another 21 per cent of the project, while retired Manchester United legends Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs will each own two per cent.

Rowsley Chief Executive Officer Lock Wai Han said: "We are excited to be in Manchester and to tap into its vibrancy and growth. Gary and his team exemplify the dynamism of the city and the City Council, and it's a style of working we are very comfortable with in Singapore.

"St Michael's will be a landmark city centre development and will meet the growing demand for quality accommodation and offices as Manchester continues to benefit from the migration of businesses from high-cost London."

Construction of the project will start in the second half next year, to be completed in three years.

Separately, Rowsley also announced on Thursday its plan to invest £29.1 million for a 75 per cent stake in Hotel Football near United's Old Trafford stadium, Café Football, and hotel management company GG collections.

Launched in March this year, Hotel Football and Café Football were originally joint ventures between Mr Neville and Mr Giggs and Singapore billionaire Peter Lim, who is also a major shareholder of Rowsley. Post transaction, Mr Neville and Mr Giggs will remain minority shareholders and managers of the businesses.

Mr Lock said the investment is for Rowsley to leverage on the Manchester United's brand name to enter the region's growing hospitality sector.

Mr Neville welcomed the deal: "This is an exciting opportunity for Hotel Football and the city of Manchester. To be able to use and harness Rowsley's enormous knowledge and expertise is unbelievable.

"When we dreamt of building Hotel Football, we knew exactly what we wanted it to be: a unique place where like-minded individuals could gather. However we also knew that we would need a restructure within the company in order to facilitate the growth in our hospitality and leisure interests."

whwong@sph.com.sg