Lifestyle hospitality developer acquires Manchester site

Lifestyle hospitality developer SACO Property Group has acquired a site in central Manchester for its first hotel in the city.

SACO Property Group, the development arm of SACO The Serviced Apartment Company, has purchased the site of the former Atrium Serviced Apartments on the corner of Princess Street and Whitworth Street from real estate funds managed by Blackstone. The deal represents the group’s ninth site acquisition as part of the ongoing expansion of its Locke lifestyle aparthotel concept.

The development, which will be known as Whitworth Locke, will offer 150 units alongside amenities including a gym, multiple independent food and drink offerings, co-working space and meeting rooms.

SACO Property Group now plans to undertake an extensive refurbishment programme. It is expected that the new hotel will have a phased opening beginning in March 2018 and completing by June of that year.

Earlier this year, SACO announced ambitious plans for the expansion of its Locke aparthotel. Locke, which aims to bridge the gap between contemporary lifestyle hotels and design-led serviced apartments, opened its first property in east London in October 2016 and has been assembling a pipeline of new sites since.

Since the start of the year, SACO has secured additional development opportunities in London, Cambridge and Dublin, adding some 900-plus units to its existing pipeline of 1,200-plus under operation. This will see its portfolio exceed 2,000 units by 2020.

Locke’s second property Eden Locke is due to open in Edinburgh in July 2017, offering a further 72 design -led suites, while an additional site in east London has just been submitted for planning. The group is now targeting further acquisitions in Paris, Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Dublin and Hamburg in addition to bolstering its presence in other major UK cities.

Ben Harper, SACO commercial director, said: “With the successful launch of our first property behind us, we have been focused on securing sites for the continued expansion of the Locke brand and Manchester was a natural target.

“We know the city well as we have successfully operated there under the SACO brand for a number of years. ┬áThis new opening gives us an opportunity to operate the two aparthotels under both SACO and Locke brands in Manchester, providing increased capacity, choice and relevance for all customer groups.”

CBRE represented Blackstone.