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Browns win £82m Manchester tower contract

Local contractor Browns Construction has won an £82 million job for developer Time & Tide in Manchester.

Local contractor Browns Construction has won an £82 million job for developer Time & Tide in Manchester.

The developer’s managing director John Asplin said Browns had beaten three other builders shortlisted for the 35-storey tower but declined to name them.

Based in Cheadle, on the outskirts of Manchester, Mr Asplin said Browns had won the developer over in part because of its similarities as a growing business with a strong work ethic.

He said the Gravity tower, which will have 373 flats and about 1,600 sq m of retail and office space, would be the biggest project both had embarked on.

Mr Asplin said: “Their profile is very similar to ours. I don’t think they have built above 21 storeys before so it’s a step up for them.

“One of the things we like about them is they were able to assist us in achieving a very good BREEAM rating.”

The tower would fall into the ‘very good’ category of the four-tier environmental rating system – one step below the top ‘excellent’ rating.

Mr Asplin said it would be “the largest scheme by far” for Time & Tide, which had done nothing above £60 million before.

Set to be built at the Eastern Gateway to Manchester’s city centre, the project also includes the development of more than 3,000 sq m of public parkland.

Most of the flats will have one or two bedrooms. There will be four penthouses at the top of the building and two levels of submerged parking.

Construction is expected to start next March. The first phase will be released to the market next summer and the project is due to be finished by late 2010.

The Eastern Gateway location was ideal for Time & Tide, which chose sites where, Mr Asplin said, it could be a “bigger fish in a small sea”.

He added: “As a company we look at development sites in areas that are undergoing regeneration, where we can actually make a statement.”

He said major national builders had not been among candidates for the Gravity development and the three other bidders were all a similar size to Browns.