31 Princess Street Manchester

Architects sell office to Roundhouse

Namulus Pension Fund, the retirement pot of three ex-directors of architecture practice Buttress Fuller Alsop Williams, have sold the firm’s old office at 31 Princess Street, overlooking Manchester’s Albert Square, to Roundhouse Properties for an undisclosed sum.

The firm restructured and rebranded as Buttress when it moved to Bengal Street in Ancoats in December 2013, so it could base the entire studio on one floor for the first time in its 25-year history.

Directors Michael Fuller, Geoff Alsop and Richard Williams left the practice and retained the four-storey Princess Street block in their pension pot.

Roundhouse Properties plans to refurbish the building as offices above retail. The building has three floors of 1,700 sq ft, and two retail units sit on the ground floor, with one currently occupied by Clarity’s hairdressers.

Work is set to start within the next few weeks to bring the property up to date in a two-month programme of works.

Roundhouse has gone full circle on this property, since they sold it in 1992. Commenting on the purchase, chairman and managing director, Janet Lefton, said: “The building was the Swinton Insurance head office, where I was based for many years and I am naturally delighted that we have been able to reacquire this building. It’s a great addition to our portfolio and we will look to breathe a new lease of life into it, having been vacant for the past six months. We are passionate about creating modern, dynamic work places that inspire people, improve the community and help businesses to thrive.

“We’ve already had significant interest from potential high profile tenants for the retail suite, and we are currently in discussion with a number of parties for the office space. We look forward to welcoming them to Princess Street once complete. There is no doubt it will be a top office location renovated to a high quality and specification.”

Daniel Barnes of Savills and Andrew Rands of JLL have been appointed as joint agents on the office lettings and Andrew Hynes of Hynes Illingworth as the sole agent on the retail unit.

Michael Fuller is now a consultant to Levitt Bernstein. Geoff Alsop is honorary treasurer of the RIBA. Richard Williams runs his own practice in Timber Wharf, Castlefield.

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