The building was first put up for sale 18 months ago. Credit: via marketing materials

Abrdn to retain Manchester office after sale falls through 

After 18 months of trying to sell the 175,000 sq ft One Tony Wilson Place at First Street, the investor is now planning to “refurbish and reposition” the building. 

Place North West reported in early October that Delancey and investor Lenrose had been under offer to acquire the Manchester office in a deal that fell below the £52.3m Abrdn was asking for. 

However, that deal is now off with Abrdn choosing to put its faith in the building’s “exciting growth location”. 

David Fleetwood, deputy fund manager at Abrdn, said: “Abrdn has made the decision to retain the asset and change its strategy to hold and invest in this location.  

“We believe the asset’s location has performance potential in an exciting growth location in Manchester city centre. We aim to progress a refurbishment to reposition One Tony Wilson Place to a modern, sustainable boutique office with strong ESG credentials”.      

The difficulty in getting the First Street deal over the line is demonstrative of the wider market at present. 

Overall, real estate investment volumes are down. JLL reported that figures for the first half of 2023 were more than 50% lower than the same period in 2022. 

Amid changing ways of working and a greater awareness of the environment, offices, particularly larger ones that do not meet certain sustainability criteria, have decreased in value.  

Co-op’s 330,000 sq ft Manchester headquarters was recently bought for £70m less than the vendor had originally wanted when it hit the market in spring 2022.   

One Tony Wilson Place last traded for £64.7m when Abrdn acquired it from Patrizia in 2015.  

Abrdn put the building on the market last May for £73m. A sale at this price would have represented a net initial yield of 5.75%.   

The asking price was then dropped by more than £20m to £52.3m.  

Home to the likes of Auto Trader, Jacobs, and Ford, the building generates annual income of £4.5m, with 12,800 sq ft vacant on the third floor.  

The building was designed by BDP and has a BREEAM rating of Excellent. The property was originally developed by Ask. 

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Shame this building cant be removed and help make Piccadilly Gardens bigger as part of its overall into a better public space for the city.

By GetItBuilt!

This building is in First street, looks similar to the one in Piccadilly garden though.

By Anonymous

Think you may have the wrong building there Getitbuilt (although I know the one I think you mean in Picc Gardens) . This one is First St where many years ago the old Gas works lived and was later home to BT’s HQ in Manchester. It’s fair to say the whole area has changed quite a lot in the last 20 yrs. Agree it would be nice to reposition the one in Piccadilly Gardens, along with the ‘wall’. Ideally underground. As rubble.

By Cal Smate

This building is in First Street and was i believe originally there and refurbished and extended as the first building on that development.

By Andrew

Just to add this was indeed formerly Grand Island as mentioned the previous HQ of BT before the remodel and prior to that the HQ of the British council . The New BT HQ will I think imminently be opening in New Bailey after BT decided it missed Manchester and would rather like to come back. Well, look at us being all useful, bet Julie must think sometimes we just write in to slag each other off and quote reports from the Trustmebro website, but no not this time Julia. We know stuff too. However normal service will be resumed tomorrow 😎

By Simon

Fellas need to buy a vowel.

By Anthony

Hopefully they might put in the green wall that was proposed when it was originally built

By Harpsicord

Apologies guys, its very similar to PG! First Street is very generic, but its fine, hope they don’t mess its simple form too much.

By GetItBuilt!

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