The NWPAs 2017: Winners reactions
Words by Natasha Young
A year of North West property industry success was recently celebrated as the spectacular annual NWPAs returned.
The glittering black tie event, sponsored by Countryside, rolled into Lutyens Crypt at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral with a fabulous circus theme, and brought a host of firsts for 2017.
There were brand new awards, new sponsors and, of course, a new group of worthy nominees and winners from across the commercial and residential property sectors.
Long established Liverpool-based architect practice Brock Carmichael was among the firms backing the event for the first time this year, as it sponsored the prestigious Regeneration Award on the night.
“The practice has been involved in regeneration since our inception in 1974 so we’re very proud to be here tonight championing it,” said managing partner Chris Bolland during the event, which took place for the 14th year running.
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“The award is showcasing some fantastic regeneration projects and I think the future’s strong for that.”
Along with the presentation of 13 top accolades on the night, glamorous NWPAs attendees enjoyed a drinks reception sponsored by Furnish That Room before sitting down to a lavish three-course meal. There was also entertainment in the form of live dance, music and magic, and guests went head to head in a quiz using interactive keypads.
The tech gadgets also paved the way for the presentation of the inaugural Interactive Award, which saw guests choose the best dressed table. Luxor Estates took the prize on the evening.
Plus there was tough competition throughout the other categories this year, which brought a big night for double prize-winning developer Urban Splash.
The firm was awarded the Best Commercial Scheme title for its Stubbs Mill project in Manchester, before winning the Best New Home (large scheme) award for its modular housebuilding concept, ‘House’.
The NWPAs 2017 esteemed panel of expert judges included:
– Alastair Shepherd, director of Falconer Chester Hall (FCH)
– Lesley Martin-Wright, CEO of Knowsley Chamber
– Elaine Cunningham, owner of Elaine Cunningham Design Studio
Best Commercial Scheme
Sponsored by Paul Crowley & Co Solicitors
Regeneration was a key theme in this category’s 2017 shortlist, with redundant buildings being given new life to create “thriving communities and workspaces”.
This was certainly the case of the winner on the night, which was Urban Splash’s Stubbs Mill project in Manchester.
On collecting the prize for the transformation of the former machine works into creative workspaces, Urban Splash co-founder Jonathan Falkingham said: “Stubbs Mill is not the biggest scheme, it’s about 30,000 sq ft, but it’s in a difficult area of Manchester and we had to work really hard.
“It was all about regeneration and getting people excited about moving back into the area so it’s great to be recognised with the award.”
Commercial Estates Group was named runner up for Exchange Station in Liverpool.
Best Commercial Let
Sponsored by Redwing Living
Commercial Estates Group (CEG) was crowned this year’s winner in a category which was open to a diverse range of lets across the North West for office, retail, industrial and hotel space.
The firm picked up the prize for attracting Liverpool John Moores University to take 58,000 sq ft of space at Exchange Station, in what was Liverpool city centre’s biggest office deal since 2014.
Antonia Martin-Wright, head of investment north at CEG, said: “We’re delighted to win this award. We bought the building 18 months ago and since then we’ve let over 100,000 sq ft.
“It’s been a real team effort between Hitchcock Wright & Partners, GVA and CEG, and we’re really proud to be part of this thriving city.”
Judges’ Special Award
Sponsored by The Sovini Group
In its 15th anniversary year, the charity Housing People Building Communities (HPBC) received a special award for its work in creating low-cost homes for Liverpool.
Its pioneering ‘sweat equity’ initiative has helped make properties more affordable by enabling ‘partners’ to spend 500 hours building their home in return for a £10,000 deposit contribution.
Shannon Ledbetter, founder and chair of HPBC, said: “It’s absolutely amazing that we’ve won this award. It’s testimony to the thousands of people and supporters who have believed in us from the very beginning.
“We’re hoping to move on from here to bigger things with more people and having more exciting projects; helping people to find good, affordable houses which they can call home.”
Sponsored by Brock Carmichael
Residential projects dominated the shortlist for this year’s prestigious Regeneration Award, which was also open to commercial projects, and Countryside’s Highfield Green development in Kirkby took the title.
Tracey Ward, sales manager at Countryside which previously won the prize for its New Broughton Village scheme, said: “We’re delighted to have won the Regeneration Award again for the second year running – this time for Highfield Green. The scheme has been really successful.”
The transformation of Liverpool city centre’s Chancery House was named runner up.