The next phase of Manchester’s St Mary’s Parsonage masterplan has been unveiled, a 14-storey building to replace two ageing offices on Parsonage Gardens.
The proposals have been drawn up by Beaconsfield Commercial, a family investment office that owns the two existing buildings – No.1 North Parade and No. 5 Parsonage – on the north side of the gardens in Manchester city centre.
Designed by SimpsonHaugh architects, One North Parade would be an “environmentally pioneering” new-build block providing 83,000 sq ft of office space and targeting a BREAAM ‘Outstanding’ rating as one of the city’s most carbon-efficient buildings, Beaconsfield said.
The 14-storey building would have a restaurant on the ground floor overlooking Parsonage Gardens, “to bring life and vibrancy to this part of the city”, the developer added. Each storey would feature trees “to create a calm and healthy environment”.
The scheme also features cycle facilities and spaces for socialising, and Beaconsfield would help provide future landscaping enhancements to Parsonage Gardens to making the area more accessible, pedestrian friendly and visually attractive, according to a consultation on One North Parade, launched today (Wednesday).
Ian Simpson, founding partner at the architecture firm SimpsonHaugh, said: “We propose a pioneering working environment in Manchester – a workspace that will respond to the important environmental and wellbeing challenges we face today.
“The building’s uses, which include a restaurant, will bring activity and life to the northern edge of Parsonage Gardens. The design embraces and extends the gardens vertically, providing biodiverse, intimate garden spaces at each level, and use of low embodied carbon materials such as limestone complement the historic surroundings.
“We believe the proposal presents an appropriate and sensitive contextual response to this important but neglected city space.”
Deloitte Real Estate is the planning consultant and Colliers International has been appointed as the commercial agent for the scheme.
Michael Hawkins, director and head of national office agency and development, UK regions, at Colliers, said the building – “with its focus on environmental performance and wellbeing – is exactly what Manchester needs to continue to attract and retain the best talent”.
He added: “As the way people work continues to change, organisations will be demanding different qualities from their office space. Increasingly, the office will need to be a place that fosters creativity, collaboration and reflects that organisation’s culture and values.
“One North Parade will set the bar for this thoughtful approach to office design. What’s more, it will serve to energise the wider St Mary’s Parsonage area.”
The scheme is the latest proposal to be brought forward as part of Manchester City Council’s strategic regeneration framework for St Mary’s Parsonage, signed off in July.
The framework seeks to guide redevelopment of the area between Blackfriars Street and Bridge Street. In particular, it includes plans to improve Parsonage Gardens, demolish the 18-storey Albert Bridge House and redevelop the grade two-listed Kendal Milne building on Deansgate, home to House of Fraser.
Earlier this month, developer Investec revealed plans for a 500,000 sq ft office revamp of Kendal’s, designed to reduce the property’s dependence on the retail industry for its long-term survival. A consultation on that scheme ends on 30 October.
At Parsonage Gardens, the southern and western sides are flanked by the imposing Arkwright House and elaborately designed Century Buildings. However, the northern side, where One North Parade would be built, is less prominent and the existing two buildings are underused and in need of modernisation.
The gardens also lack commercial activity at ground level and require some revitalisation, according to Beaconsfield’s proposals, which are set out in a dedicated website through which the public can send feedback.