Market predicts Co-op ‘will stay where it is’

The Co-operative Group will rebuild its headquarters on its existing site rather than move to another development, according to office agents in Manchester.

One prominent agent, who asked not to be named, said: "We [in this office] think the Co-op is going nowhere. It would be mad to do a deal with another developer when it has its own land in a prime location.

"This talk of drawing up a shortlist is all smoke and mirrors to get more money out of the city council. They [the council] aren't going to let that number of jobs go."

The Co-op is currently masterplanning its 20-acre site on Corporation Street ahead of its redevelopment. In recent days, the company announced that it would be staying in Manchester city centre and building a new office for its HQ rather than moving to a Greater Manchester town.

The council has pledged £20m towards the Co-op redevelopment, ensuring the 3,000 workers stay in the city centre.

Another office agent added: "The Co-operative Group will simply pay a management fee to a developer to build out and run an office on its existing site. Nor will they need 300,000 sq ft as some people have talked about if they stay there. They have existing premises elsewhere and will be able to make do with far less space."

Others are waiting to see if a shortlist of rival sites emerges after all, with Ask Developments' Greengate, First Street, Allied London's Spinningfields and Muse Developments' Victoria Station all hopeful.

Four architects are competing to masterplan the site: Arup, BDP, Heneghan Peng and KPF Architects.

Jones Lang LaSalle is advising the Co-op.

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