Allied London to make fire station ‘international brand’

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Plans for London Road Fire Station could incorporate a range of uses including hotel, restaurants, and start-up offices when new owner Allied London takes possession of the property in March 2016.

Speaking at the first of a series of consultation meetings on the fire station at Old Granada Studios, Aliied London chief executive Michael Ingall presented his initial thoughts on the future of the building and stressed the importance of creating a commercially viable scheme after paying “a very full price” for the property.

Allied London was revealed as the purchaser of the grade two-listed building next to Piccadilly station last month. The fire station was put on the market in April with a price tag of around £10m.

The property has been the subject of controversy in Manchester for a number of years due to the property falling into a state of disrepair under the stewardship of owner Britannia Hotels.

See below for images inside London Road Fire Station

Following the announcement that it had exchanged contracts to buy the station, Allied London initially said that the scheme would be known as Manchester Firehouse, but at the consultation event Ingall announced that the brand had been changed to Create London Road.

At the start of the event Ingall stressed that Allied London was not intending to create one big use out of the fire station.

“This is a project that will be a catalyst for this part of the city,” he said. “If Manchester wants to be an international city, we need international-class assets.

“The building lends itself naturally to a hotel, but small and premium rather than the whole event. It would also need to be of an international quality, which in my opinion doesn’t exist at the moment.

“We don’t want to create another Northern Quarter, or Spinningfields, or Corn Exchange. We want to make it iconic.”

With several large spaces within the building, such as the original Court Room or the 6,000 sq ft Engine House, Ingall suggested that the developer would employ a light-touch approach, and seek operators that would use the rooms “without disturbing the architecture”.

Ingall spotlighted suggestions from Friends of London Road Fire Station, a vocal campaign group that has been advocating the sale and restoration of the building. According to a survey conducted by the group, the three most popular potential uses for the fire station were museum, heritage and arts. The most unpopular were social housing, offices or private apartments, which Ingall said showed “tensions creeping in” between campaigners’ wishes and the developer’s goals in terms of viability

Ingall did not dismiss using part of the building for art galleries, or flexible office space for start-ups.

By March, Allied London aims to have defined potential operators for the building, with a planning application submitted by August or September. Planning consent is targeted for March 2017.

Architect Levitt Bernstein and engineer Cundalls have been linked to the project.

Click any image below to launch gallery

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Since when in the UK did we refer to a Fire station as a Firehouse? I would love to see the courtyard as a classy fruit and vegetable market.I hope you that after people have fought for years to keep this building standing,that we do not finish up with yet another ‘mixed use’ development.

By Elephant

Splendid idea for the courtyard Elephant old bean. Absolutely correct about the usual ‘mixed use’ proposals too. Developer’s goals in terms of “viability” =maximum profit – always has, always will.’ Create’ London Rd or ‘Firehouse’ both meaningless marketing prattle – from people without o

By Cassandra

A purchaser with substance and a track record, who will make space for the arts and unusual / unprofitable elements. Everything sounds good apart from the terrible names! Create is a bit better than Firehouse, but….

By Gene Walker

@Elephant, another great idea re the fruit & veg market!

By Francesca

Glad people like my market idea.It could be similar to the Piece Hall in Halifax,used to be.

By Elephant

Trumpton themed hotel anyone?

By bob alatt

Bob alatt – ha, ha! Pugh, Pugh, profits that grew, etc etc, better than most city centre establishments with a pole in them I suppose! Seriously, the point raised by Elephant is extremely valid. the farmers market held in Piccadilly has been abandoned by most serious traders as it has resorted to a ‘street food’ feature, rather than an opportunity to purchase good ingredients. A great deal of the traders used to lament it’s location not being suitable after it moved from outside the old Smithfield Market ( following re- development) and the difficulty in loading/ unloading from their vans and the lack of promotion/ commitment from the city authorities. A space like this would provide a perfect regular famers/ market garden venue, perhaps around a suitably landscaped space. Piece Hall in Halifax was indeed a great venue.

By Cassandra