Ask sees future in ‘base chassis’ offices

Ask Developments' chief executive Ken Knott has outlined a flexible office concept for First Street in Manchester city centre.

Ken Knott and Ian Simpson at Mipim 2012Speaking at the Mipim property convention in Cannes, Knott said the new office buildings will be highly sustainable and competitively priced, with rents up to 30% lower than the prime central business district.

He said the unit sizes will be capable of being subdivided and interconnected vertically and horizontally to create an infinite number of options.

Knott said: "The concept was conceived as 'shared platforms', much like automotive production. The innovative energy efficient base chassis of each building can be used in a variety of configurations tailored to a specific activity or can perform equally well in its base model format. Internally, tall, airy spaces with floor to ceiling windows interspersed with useful working walls can be combined with street level space and public and private amenities."

Ask Developments plans 1m sq ft of office at First Street, a mixed-use development anchored by a 50,000 sq ft arts centre incorporating the merged Cornerhouse and Library Theatre Company and a 208-bed, 4-star Innside Hotel from global hotel group Meliá Hotels.

Ian Simpson Architects is advising Ask.

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