Bruntwood prepares to leave City Tower after 12 years
Bruntwood is due to relocate its headquarters in June, following the end of the two-year agreement to occupy two floors of the office landmark in Piccadilly after the sale to Schroders for £132m in May 2014.
The investor-developer, owned and run by the Oglesby family, will move 130 staff to nearby York House, where it will occupy 11,650 sq ft, and Trafford House on Chester Road, where it has taken 11,200 sq ft, and will absorb 50 staff from its Trafford Plaza office.
Bruntwood acquired the 225,000 sq ft City Tower as part of the wider Piccadilly Plaza island complex of retail, hotel and office space in December 2003 for £65m from Portfolio Holdings. The company spent £38m refurbishing the building and surrounding public realm. Bruntwood occupied 13,000 sq ft on the 23rd and 24th floors, including a conference centre and meeting rooms operated under its Red Rooms brand.
In early 2014, Bruntwood capitalised on the rising institutional interest in Manchester when it brought the asset to market and quickly agreed a deal with Schroders.
Kate Vokes, HR and marketing director, said: “Selling City Tower gave us the perfect opportunity to look at how we were working and how we saw ourselves working in the future. It allowed us to evaluate the types of spaces we need to encourage the behaviours and the types of technologies we want to embrace.
“We wanted to be able to work together in a more flexible and collaborative way so have designed our new spaces at York House and Trafford House to truly support these behaviours. Some of the best ideas come from impromptu meetings or a chat over a coffee so encouraging our people to socialise with their team away from the formalities of their desk was key.”
The sale of City Tower was part of a trend towards new developments and a greater mixture of uses in Bruntwood’s portfolio, traditionally dominated by offices. Bruntwood is now active in science parks, residential and hotels, with major developments under way such as £750m Circle Square at the former BBC site on Oxford Road, Manchester, a joint venture with Select Property Group.
In Liverpool, Bruntwood has put the 370,000 sq ft Plaza on the market for an asking price of £57m, and Orleans House is set to be converted from offices into 71 flats.
Bruntwood said its move out of City Tower will be complete by mid-June. Design practice TP Bennett is advising on the fit-out of its new offices in York House and Trafford House.
Schroders is currently in the final stages of a refurbishment and reconfiguration of City Tower and recently removed the signage from the top of the outside of the tower. The Bruntwood house style font will be replaced by a capitalised version, still called City Tower, illuminated blue to be visible from further away. City Tower is the highest commercial space in Manchester city centre. ID:SR, the interior design arm of Sheppard Robson, is advising Schroders.