Allied throws hat into Fire Station ring

Allied London is among the shortlisted bidders for the London Road Fire Station in Manchester, currently being marketed by Christie & Co on behalf of Britannia Hotels, according to Allied chief Michael Ingall.

Ingall said: “We always told ourselves not to go off piste outside Spinningfields and the old Granada studios but I really like the building, I think it’s amazing.”

Allied London has retained Levitt Bernstein to draw up plans for the much-loved but semi-derelict fire station, which Britannia has owned for 27 years without developing. Levitt Bernstein worked with Allied London to refurbish the grade 2-listed Brunswick Centre in London’s Bloomsbury district and is architect on the hotel and event space proposed for the former Granada headquarters in Manchester.

Mike IngallIngall added: “I went to see the building once, then I went twice, then I went three times and decided we would put a bid in.”

The proposal is being drawn up, Ingall said, with “specific uses and operators in mind” but he declined to identify the brands involved.

He did say he would not be keen to “rip the guts out” of the building and disagreed with some in the market who envisaged a 350-bed premium hotel, which he felt would not operate at sufficient occupancy levels to charge the premium room rates to make it viable for development.

“We would probably do very little to the building and work with what’s there. I think it is big enough to create a place that lends itself to a mix of uses: studio living, workspace, hotel rooms and restaurants.”

The detailed bids from the shortlisted companies are due to be submitted by 23 July. The other names on the shortlist are yet to be confirmed. No one was available at Christie & Co to comment.

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