You only have to ask

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Those of you who keep a close eye on Mix will notice that we love to get the views of those throughout the property food chain – whether in Mix Interiors itself or at our Mix Inspired events, where we assemble a great panel of end users. In this, our latest feature, we are throwing the spotlight on developers, giving them an opportunity to shout about their success but also give you, our dear readers, an insight into the company and some of their latest developments. For our first instalment, we thought we would hear from Ask Real Estate, the good people who helped us with our new creation Mix Blank Canvas.


Ask Real Estate is an independent property company with an impressive reputation for delivering high-quality developments in urban centres. Established in 2000, Ask has built its reputation for multi-partner developments, featuring some of the most creative and bold concepts in regeneration, working at the highest levels with both the public and private sector.

The Manchester-based company now has a portfolio of 20 separate projects of over
3 million sq ft of floorspace and generating an end value of £800 million, with schemes in offices, residential, leisure, car parks and business parks. Whilst proud of its Manchester heritage and the work completed across the North West, Ask recently expanded into other regions, most notably at Gateshead Quays, where together with joint venture partner, PATRIZIA UK, it will deliver a new multi-million pound, state-of-the-art entertainment arena, conference and exhibition centre with complementary hotels, bars and restaurants along the waterfront.

One of the biggest developments in Manchester is First Street. The regeneration of the 20-acre site has been a long-held ambition for the partnership between Manchester City Council, Ask Real Estate and PATRIZIA UK.

This month saw the announcement that the retail and leisure phase is now fully let with 16 operators open for business.  When the 170,000 sq ft N0.8 office scheme completes later this year, thousands more employees will join those already working in N0.1, further enhancing this thriving neighbourhood.

“Our move to First Street was overwhelmingly positive. As well as the bars and restaurants, it was the area’s connectivity which was a big pull. We take the views of our employees seriously and satisfaction has definitely increased since we moved here. There is a great sense of community and we really feel part of it.”

Alison Ross, Customer Experience and Operations Director, Auto Trader

Masterplanning and vision

A comprehensive approach to masterplanning has seen First Street integrate into the wider city centre, providing an east/west connection with surrounding neighbourhoods and drawing in visitors to this new cultural heart, contributing hugely to Manchester’s economic expansion.

The overarching vision for First Street, which was built on the site of the former Gaythorne Gas Works, was to create a distinctive, inspiring space for people to live and work; a space which would deliver the best possible amenities to draw in destination visitors and provide an unbeatable work location.

Life begins at First Street

First Street is situated through the arches directly opposite the former Hacienda nightclub – where the legendary Tony Wilson created a musical and cultural explosion that resonated around the world. He lends his name to the estate’s central space and it is at Tony Wilson Place where the neighbourhood truly comes together.

Places to work

N0.1 was the first of the estate’s Grade A offices to open and is home to Auto Trader, Gazprom Energy, Jacob’s Engineering, Amaze and Ford Credit. These firms chose it because its transport links make it accessible to the widest possible skilled work force and the wealth of independent amenities help to attract and retain thousands of exceptional staff.

Soon to complete is N0.8, the next in a series of  office buildings which will see a continued influx of companies seeking the highest quality office space, with flexible floorplates and a competitive pricepoint, which complements more traditional city centre office schemes. When complete, the total office accommodation at First Street will provide over 2m sq ft of space and be THE place to work for almost 14,000 people.

Places to live

Next year, attention will turn to the delivery of 624 PRS homes, which will support the aims of Manchester’s Growth Strategy to provide high-quality homes to accommodate the city’s rapidly growing population and will include Manchester’s largest private garden at nearly 14,000 sq ft.