Co-op to sell prime 20 acres and build new headquarters

The Co-operative Group is to build a new 200,000 sq ft headquarters in Manchester making way for the regeneration of 20 acres of the city centre's northern edge.

The firm said it is looking at a range of options, including building on its own landholdings in the city or relocating elsewhere in the city or Greater Manchester. The move is not expected to take place for at least two years. In the meantime the Group plans to work with Manchester City Council on a regeneration master plan for the existing site.

A statement from the company said: "The group's decision has been taken in the face of rising maintenance costs for its existing dated office complex fronting Corporation Street. This includes the 13-storey New Century House office block. These costs are expected to add up to over £100m within the next 10 years.

"As a result of relocation, the group expects to generate annual savings of at least £10m as well as realising the development value of the 20-acre site as part of the regeneration of the area."

Buildings with a total size of 350,000 sq ft are to be vacated by the group:

  • New Century House, Corporation Street
  • Old Bank Building, Hanover Street
  • Hanover Building, Hanover Street
  • Redfern Building, Redfern Street
  • Dantzic Building, Federation Street
  • Federation Building, Federation Street

The move does not affect the landmark CIS Tower. No decision has yet been taken over the future occupation requirements of the Group's financial services businesses – Co-operative Financial Services (CFS) – headquartered in Balloon Street and Miller Street. This continues to be reviewed against business needs. However, CFS has also pledged to retain its headquarters in Greater Manchester.

Lynda Shillaw, director of property, explained: "As a successful, expanding business, we want to ensure our employees have a modern workplace with up-to-date facilities – this is simply out of reach at our present premises which are tired and in need of major investment. When balanced against the commercial benefits to be gained by relocation and redevelopment of this site such investment just does not add up.

"The Co-operative landholdings have great potential to boost the city's commercial vitality and its ability to generate employment – a master plan for the entire site will enable this potential to be fully achieved."

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