40 46 Princess Street, Wittington, P.via Planning Docs
Plans for the project were refreshed due to the pandemic. Credit: via planning documents

Approval for Wittington’s Princess Street office refresh 

Dan Whelan

Contractor Cubic Works is to carry out the refurbishment of the listed Eastern House and Langley Buildings in Manchester, creating 75,000 sq ft of workspace. 

Having withdrawn earlier proposals last year, Wittington Investments resubmitted plans for the scheme in June. 

Under the refreshed plans, approved by Manchester City Council, the upper floors of 40-46 Princess Street are to be revamped to provide modern workspace. 

Wittington Investments’ proposals also feature a 16,500 sq ft gym across two basement levels.  

The buildings previously housed a nightclub at the basement levels, restaurants at ground floor level, and small suite office accommodation managed by Citibase on the five upper floors.  

However, the properties are now vacant.  

In 2017, Wittington won approval to refurbish the buildings to create modern office accommodation but withdrew the plans last July.   

At the time, chief executive of Wittington’s property division Kevin Boylan said the firm planned to rethink its approach to the project in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Wittington subsequently rejigged the project team for the scheme. Zerum was replaced by Paul Butler Associates as planning consultant and Bridge Architects took over from Ipswich-based Engine Room.  

The refurbishment is expected to begin this month and take a year to complete.  

The project team for Princess Street also includes In4m as project manager, Curtins as structural engineer, and Crookes Walker Consulting advising on M&E.

BB Heritage Studio is the heritage consultant for the project, while Walker Sime is the cost consultant.

Wittington, a privately owned investment company, is 79.2% owned by the Garfield Weston Foundation. Elsewhere in Manchester the firm owns the Express Building on Great Ancoats Street, and No1 Balloon Street.  

The company also owns upmarket department store Fortnum & Mason.

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Be nice to see this finished, as it’s been dragging on for years. Both really lovely buildings

By Steve

Excellent building and just shows what can be done to repurpose beautiful old buildings and just one of a number of buildings Manchester has led the way on.

By NoRomance

I just feel compelled to comment on this.I suggest to ppl interested in architecture to blow up the snap of said buildings. Absolutely wonderful architecture always gets a mention from me..Also looking forward to the London Road fire station refit,refurb,restoration.That really has seemed like going on for ever.

By Robert Fuller

It’s a step in the right direction for Manchester. Retaining its warehouses and industrial history – given its landlocked geographic disadvantages – is a feature that should be celebrated.

By Liverpool romance

@ Liverpool romance
I assume that’s a joke?
It’s surrounded by the Peak District. That’s why I chose to live here ha!

It’s not even that far from the coast. When I lived in Canada it was an 8 hour drive to the sea!

Geographically I would say Manchester is much better placed unless we’re all going to start travelling by sea again.

That’s hilarious.

By Anonymous

Land locked disadvantage LR? Perhaps before we dug the ship canal to bring the port here and we all know what’s happened since then. Even HS2 is almost certainly coming here because of the geographical advantages, not just the offices and jobs. Liverpool has some lovely old buildings on the waterfront and I enjoy the Liverpool experience occasionally, but I’m always glad to get back to where things actually happen, geographical advantage included.

By Tufty

All those terrible landlocked cities at such a disadvantage – like Paris, Berlin, Madrid, Zurich, Vienna….

By Loganberry

On the topic of architecture, heritage, etc, despite the law allowing it, Manchester doesn’t seem to suffering the same proliferation of rooftop extensions that we (Liverpool) are.

Could exploring this, the reasons behind the contrast in particular, be a topic for a PNW writer?

I would love to see the back of this trend in Liverpool.

By Jeff

It’s just the daily liverpool romance passive-aggressive dig at anything Manchester. Gives me a laugh every day.

By HSR

Interesting idea, @Jeff. I’ll see what we can do.

By Julia Hatmaker