BT steps up Manchester search

Communications giant BT is circling the Manchester office market with a live requirement of around 200,000 sq ft.

Place North West understands that JLL has been appointed by BT to find the business a Manchester location, along with similar size requirements in Glasgow and Birmingham. BT is seeking around 150,000 sq ft to 200,000 sq ft in each city, with Manchester said to be at the top end of that range.

The appointment follows JLL’s work on behalf of the Government Property Unit on the regional super-hubs project, much of which involved rationalising HMRC locations into 13 city locations – New Bailey in Salford and India Buildings in Liverpool being the chosen locations in the North West.

Requests for proposals have been circulated to those agents or developers with suitable holdings to accommodate the requirement, Place understands. With such a large requirement, much may depend on how urgent BT’s timeline is.

With up to 1.65m sq ft of offices in the masterplan, Mayfield would be an obvious contender, but with a planning application yet to be lodged, may be beyond the timescale required. Several agents have cited NOMA as a contender, along with Allied London’s Enterprise City and Bruntwood’s Circle Square, where 400,000 sq ft of office space is under construction.

Middlewood Locks has been floated as a possibility by one agent, while another pointed out that the next phase of First Street, with some finessing, could accommodate BT.

BT formerly occupied the 100,000 sq ft Grand Island office building that was redeveloped by Ask into Number One First Street, departing in 2006 with staff being dispersed to other locations, most notably Chapel Street Salford and Stockport.

JLL declined to comment.

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As usual Liverpool is overlooked. It is not a northern powerhouse it is a Manchester one.

By Red Allerton

Liverpool was top dog for nearly two hundred years and it is still growing fast and solidly.

By Roscoe

Manchester is better located, more people within range means more employment opportunities, that’s just how it goes. It’s the same reason Leeds does so well and wages are higher.


Most of the talented people have to travel from Liverpool to other places, it’s a pity more can’t be based at their home city, still the wages are coming here at least.

By Just saying

Red Allerton – maybe if Liverpool focused on the strengths it has over Manchester, and vice versa. the two cities wouldn’t have to keep fighting over the same scraps, could each build their own unique economies and work together for the benefit of both and the North West as a whole. The sniping is wearing wearily thin.

By Loganeberry

@Red Allerton… If liverpool had any Grade A office space to offer it would help. Yet theres still NIMBY’s who object the Pall Mall scheme. Madness.

By John

It takes half an hour on a fast train to get from Liverpool to Manchester. That is a shorter journey than Ealing to Oxford Circus. It really is time this petty parochialism stopped.

By Elephant

Will that grass ever be laid?
Will it actually get any sunlight with all the buildings around it?

By ?

Hey! if we can face the world as one employment market and talent pool, we’ll all be better off. Manchester is looking like its becoming a hub for the North, and a great place to in-shore from London, that’s a good thing right. It’s people in Leeds that should be really pissed off, at least most parts of the NorthWest will be able to make it into Manchester (at least by rail after electrification).

By Rich X

Yawn, come on now. This positive story is about Manchester, all the negativity coming from our end is wearing a bit thin now. Both city’s are doing well, in their own ways.

By Blue Allerton

Tremendous scheme Circle Square, got to go there surely !

By Mikes mate

circle square feels slightly outside of Manchester. Noma would be great as amazon are already there! Could be a great be the ‘tech hub’ of the city.

Liverpool is great city and im sure big things are coming!

By AnomM

“circle square feels slightly outside of Manchester. Noma would be great as amazon are already there!”

Odd thing to say given Circle Square is within the inner ring road and Noma isn’t

By Anonymous

Circle square is 5 minutes from one of the world’s great universities.

By Elephant

Liverpool is doing amazingly, look what is happening at the Knowledge Quarter. But, the council needs to be more pro-active and take risks in backing key strategic initiatives. Manchester leapt ahead because you had Bernstein who frankly just got stuff done.

By Derek

Manchester leapt ahead because it is slap bang in the middle of the Leeds, Liverpool M62 corridor. It also has the only proper airport outside London in this country.Hence the huge developments taking place around the airport.

By Elephant

AnomM – In what way does half a mile down the road from the town hall feel ‘outside of Manchester’. Unless of course we’re suggesting neither university is in Manchester…?

Oxford Road in this area is as much part of the city as Chapel street in Salford is, arguably significantly more so given the area has it’s own clear use of land for masses swathes.

Difficult to argue against the ring road comment though in fairness.

By Daveboi

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