Bricks & Mortar part 7 - a new type of architecture, property and planning roundup for Manchester

The Roaring 1920s back for 2020

Work on landmark building Blackfriars House is underway for a major 1920s-style transformation. Located just off Deansgate, at the corner of St Mary’s Parsonage and Blackfriars Road, the building stands on the banks of the River Irwell and forms part of Manchester property giant Bruntwood Works’ £50 million Pioneer refurbishment project.

The renovation will result in a collaborative hub for creative and digital businesses, and will include a relaxed lounge and co-working area on the ground floor, a bookable events and auditorium space, and an independent coffee shop to create a communal atmosphere. The new ground floor lounge area will have a 1920s feel, with co-working areas, meeting spaces and quiet concentration zones all designed with the iconic era in mind. Also paying homage to the ‘Roaring 20s’ will be a meeting room that mirrors a traditional-style living room, with seating set around a fireplace, a presentation screen designed as a photo frame and bookshelves that double up as a podcast station. The transformation will also see the whole fourth floor dedicated to newly created serviced offices.     

2019 09 27 Blackfriars House Ground Floor

Ciara Keeling, chief executive of Bruntwood Works, said: “This is an incredibly exciting time for us as we continue to roll out our Pioneer programme across our portfolio, improving facilities and offering next-level service to customers. Adding different types of spaces to Blackfriars will allow customers to access everything under one roof and flex within the building as their needs change. This is all combined with amazing communal spaces that will enable collaboration between neighbours, spaces to host industry-leading events and join in with our community engagement programmes, and relax in an independent coffee shop.”

The Pioneer project centres on six key themes across its buildings, from technology and sustainability to biophilia (think living walls), wellbeing, amenity and art. The transformation – designed by architects MgMaStudio and fit-out specialists DragonFly – will focus on wellbeing and collaboration.    

Sky’s the limit in Salford

Plans to build Salford’s tallest skyscraper have taken another step towards becoming a reality. As previously reported, a planning application has been drawn up by One Heritage for a 55-storey tower, which looks set to dominate the city’s skyline, and now plans for the building in Greengate have been submitted to Salford City Council following a public consultation. To be built on a car park on New Bridge Street near Trinity Way, the project will include one, two and three bedroom apartments, offices and major public realm improvements including a river walkway.  

Earlier this month, One Heritage held a public consultation where people could view the plans and ask the project team questions. The team included One Heritage, Euan Kellie Property Solutions, OMI Architects, Layer Landscape Architecture and marketing agency Social Communications. One Heritage project director Awais Shahid, director of Atzaro Real Estate, said: “We are delighted that our landmark regeneration proposals have now been submitted to Salford City Council. The project team have created a truly unique building which will be a welcome addition to the skyline. I would like to thank residents who attended our recent consultation event – it was great to see the strong levels of support for our project and the benefits that it will bring to Greengate and the wider area. We are already in talks with a lead contractor to deliver the project and we hope, following a successful determination, we can commence construction in late 2020.”     

2019 09 13 One Heritage

Nick Berry of OMI Architects said: “It’s fantastic to see plans for One Heritage Tower take a step forward today with this planning application and that local residents are supportive of the iconic design we have developed for the scheme. We have worked closely with Salford City Council to create a building that not only ties in with Salford’s aspirations for the area but will make a significant contribution to the skyline of this emerging quarter of the city.”   

One Heritage Group, an investment fund based in Hong Kong, has already completed a number of successful schemes in Manchester. They appointed Atzaro Real Estate, to head up the One Heritage Tower Project on their behalf.

2019 09 27 One Heritage

New tenant for City Tower

A deal to bring the London School of Commerce (LSC) to Manchester’s City Tower has been agreed by Schroder Real Estate Investment Management. The world-class educational organisation has signed a seven-year lease and will occupy 8,215 square feet of space on the sixth floor of the landmark building on New York Street’s Piccadilly Plaza, just behind the Piccadilly Gardens area. Rob Cosslett, investment manager at Schroder Real Estate, said: “We are excited to have secured another new tenant at City Tower and look forward to welcoming LSC to the building.”  

Currently based in London Bridge, the LSC offers students a diverse range of business and management programmes, including undergraduate, postgraduate and doctorate qualifications. Since launching in 1998, it has expanded internationally and now counts campuses in Malta, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Bangladesh in its overseas portfolio, and it is actively seeking additional locations across the UK, recently expanding its operations with an opening in Birmingham as well as Manchester.

2019 09 27 City Tower Schroder

Cheers to iconic Canal Street pub

Specialist lender Assetz Capital has stumped up £675,000 towards the refurbishment of the 350-year-old building that houses popular Gay Village pub The Molly House. Manchester-based developer Henry Skipton, director of Molly May Enterprises Limited, bought the pub as a first-time buyer for almost £1.3 million in August, with funding secured then through specialist commercial finance broker Christie Finance. Now Assetz Capital has provided the funds for the refurbishment and the pub is set to re-open its doors with a new look in November. Henry Skipton said: “The pub has a loyal customer base and presents good opportunities for revenues, and Assetz was able to support our efforts to give the pub a new lease of life.”  

Since 2013, Assetz has provided a range of alternative finance products to businesses and property developers in the UK, including commercial mortgages, secured SME term loans, development finance, bridging finance and residential refurbishment loans. Colin Doyle, regional relationship director at Assetz Capital, said: “Even though research shows that the number of pubs in the UK has fallen by 17 per cent since 2000, there are still many successful operators and strong trading locations and we are keen to support these ventures and ensure that their long history and popularity continues.”  

2019 09 27 The Molly House

Shipshape work spaces set to increase

The ‘creative village’ of shipping containers which has transformed wasteland near to Ancoats and New Islington is set to grow and following a successful launch earlier this year, Pollard Yard has announced plans to triple in size. Bristol-based property management firm Meanwhile Creative is behind the hub for small and independent businesses situated on Pollard Street, offering flexible monthly rolling contracts and high-speed fibre internet available from £10 per month.  

Pollard Yard has proved popular with micro-enterprises and freelancers looking to be part of a supportive, grassroots community in the heart of Manchester, with over 600 enquiries made into the ready-to-work shipping containers since initial plans for the development were announced last October and the first 40 units filled within a few weeks of opening  

Alice Palmer Brown, head of marketing for Meanwhile Creative, said: “The response in Manchester, specifically Ancoats, has been overwhelming and we’ve felt very welcomed into the community. It’s wonderful to see the creative community that affordable, flexible workspace, like Pollard Yard, fosters.”     

2019 09 27 Pollard Yard Meanwhile Creative Pic

Pollard Yard’s creative site manager Will Gomm, who oversees lettings at the container village, said: “We are growing a great community full of friendly individuals at Pollard Yard. I think part of the appeal is the freedom to do what you want with your space; people are able to decorate to their personal spec. Each space is unique.”  

Now with the initial launch phase fully let, and planning permission granted by Manchester City Council, phase two will allow at least 65 more creative Manchester businesses to make their home at Pollard Yard. Meanwhile Creative has invested £1 million into the project and as part of their wider plans for the village – fast becoming the only project of its size in the UK – they are actively looking to expand the remit of the workspaces to create a destination where individuals and organisations can run regular events, pop-ups and makers markets on site.