100 Embankment March 2019
101 Embankment, left, is opposite its sister office 100 Embankment, currently being delivered by Bam

Arts Council England eyes Manchester office move

Charlie Schouten

The public body is understood to be weighing up its options for an office of around 20,000 sq ft in the city centre with two developments emerging as leading contenders.

Arts Council England has a requirement of between 17,500 sq ft and 20,000 sq ft, and is currently based at The Hive in the Northern Quarter.

It has been searching for a city centre office for around six months, and is understood to have narrowed down its options to Ask’s No8 First Street, and 101 Embankment, which was sold by Ask to M&G Real Estate for £105m in July 2017.

The public body is understood to be considering taking a potential sub-let on Swinton’s space on the top floor of 101 Embankment, totalling around 17,800 sq ft. Its other option at No8 First Street would be on the fourth floor, where it would take a subdivided space of 19,000 sq ft.

Other occupiers at No8 include Gazprom Energy, which has 40,000 sq ft over two floors, while engineering consultant WSP has 54,000 sq ft. Odeon also has the third floor of the 173,000 sq ft building.

If Arts Council does plump for No8, the move would leave around 7,000 sq ft left on the fourth floor, while there is a further 11,590 sq ft available which was formerly an option for Gazprom Energy. Quoting rent for the building is under £30/sq ft.

Swinton pre-let the entire 165,000 sq ft before it completed in 2017, but the top two floors are not being used by the insurance company and remain available, potentially on a sub-let from the company.

Arts Council is being represented by Gerald Eve’s London office in its search for a new base; Savills and Avison Young are the retained agents for No8 First Street.

Arts Council England declined to comment.

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