One North Parade Parsonage Gardens
One North Parade is part of the regeneration of the area between Blackfriars Street and Bridge Street

Beaconsfield moots 83,000 sq ft Parsonage office  

Sarah Townsend

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.

One North Parade Parsonage Gardens 2

The 14-storey block would feature a restaurant on the ground floor

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.

No 1 North Parade Parsonage Gardens Manc

No 1 North Parade as it looks today





Your Comments

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There are hideous sixties buildings this could be replacing instead.

By Anonymous

Is there not a petition anywhere to stop this obsessive destruction of Manchester`s heritage and red brick identity?

By Why o`why

Why is there no pic of the building they’ll be replacing?

By Hanna Morris

Another nice building demolished to replaced by dross. There really is no need to do this is there?

By Loganberry

Love it! A beautiful proposal, next to a park in dire need of investment.

By James

What are these super weird water colour style visuals?

By Bradford

Manchester council seem happy to let the red brick heritage buildings be destroyed for more bland office buildings. Surely the most environmentally friendly building is the one already there? Manchester is becoming a soulless glass box city.

By Jon P

Seems a real shame to demolish No.1 North Parade which looks a good quality and well detailed red brick building (shame there is no picture). Could a refurb and possible extension be a better approach here? PNW this article doesn’t even address the issues of demolishing a perfectly useable existing building for new construction.

By Anonymous

The building that’s being demolished is Manchester’s vernacular through and through. Are we repeating the mistakes of the 60s and 70s?

By Red Brick

I’m not convinced by the need for another glass box here. Totally out of proportion in this area.
How a building can ‘ be a place that fosters creativity, collaboration and reflects that organisation’s culture and values.” is more a reflection of the fit out, which is influenced by the existing culture of a company, rather than the steel and concrete box which they occupy.

By Dennis Nilsen

Those implausible trees will be the first thing to go when they start VE.

By PR watch

Thank you for your comment. We have added in a picture of No 1 North Parade as it looks today, to provide further context for readers. PNW Editor.

By Sarah Townsend

Don’t worry it won’t happen, city centre offices have had their day. The future is in home working and out of town locations with parking

By Dan

Absolute disgrace! So knock down a perfectly sound and very attractive red brick historical building for another one of Simpson’s generic designs! Refurbish and extend what is there….this will never get through planning, as I’m sure the residents opposite will be kicking off, and quite rightly so…..

By Steve

Doesn’t seem to be much wrong with no. 1 as it stands!

Maybe retain the façade and provide a couple of extra roof floors behind.

By John

@steve – yes they are attractive red brick buildings, but have you visited the consultation website and read about the owner unable to let the attractive red brick buildings?

By Anonymous

Parsonage gardens will never see the sun again.

If they are to rip down a beautiful red brick building then I hope the materials and stone can be used again say where church street car park is

By Anonymous

Not demolishing just one of Manchester’s red brick heritage buildings in a conservation area…they are also planning to demolish the one behind 1 North Parade (5 The Parsonage) which is a hidden gem. Perhaps a photo of this one as well?

Another 14 storey generic concrete block towering over the Conservation Area…really?

By Colette J

How depressing. Total profit-driven opportunism at the expense of the City’s heritage. Hopefully along with St Michael’s, this won’t happen.

By Huey

I agree there needs to be a petition for this.

That’s shocking.

By Anonymous

Absolutely ridiculous that this proposal could even be entertained.

Manchester famed for its characterful redbrick building. Manchester Council, ‘yeah [invest] and you can flatten what ever you want’.

Manchester character is repeatedly being replaced by absolute nowheresville dross for short term gains.

By Dear Oh Dear

It’s about time this space fulfilled its potential! The landscaping and social aspirations are exactly what is needed.

By Nickolas

It would be a crying shame to lose the existing red brick building on North Parade and replace it with a bog-standard office block.

By Anonymous

Do not let them tear this building down

By Anonymous

Someone get these buildings listed please

By Anonymous

The style of visuals very much remind me of those produced by architects in the 60s and 70s. Watercolour-esque imaginings, showing the local population enjoying their day out in the concrete brutalist shopping centre.

Given how far detached those visuals were from the day to day reality, I hope that this use of style is an unhappy coincidence!

By Mike

Parsonage Gardens has got the potential to be the best small open space area in Manchester City centre but only by preserving and enhancing what is already good about the location. Replacing an excellent example of Victorian Manchester with an OKish office block is definitely not what the area needs. These proposals need to be rejected by the council sooner rather than later.

By Monty

I honestly can’t believe they are thinking of doing this.
The wider regeneration and redevelopment proposals of the surrounding 60s and 70s buildings are great. We do not need to tear these fantastic buildings down to improve the area. As if there aren’t other modern offices being planned elsewhere.

The new buildings look fine but not at the expense of Manchester’s history.

I would urge everyone to object to this scheme.

By Anonymous

I would expect a massive amount of pushback for this scheme and rightly so. There are so many other ugly 60’s & 70’s office blocks in the area prime for this type of development

By Anonymous

There can be no way MCC could possibly allow civic vandalism like this to take place. Develop the area by all means but there are better and more sympathetic ways to utilise the existing building than to pursue its wholesale destruction.

By Nve

I work just off Parsonage Gardens and I honestly cannot believe they are going to do this. Existing buildings when given to an architect with some vision can be repurposed for modern usage. You only have to look at something like the Hanover Building to see what can be done. Come on Manchester you’re better than this….

By Manc man

Please no!

By Nc

I’m astonished this building isn’t listed. If the developer brings this to planning, it will receive thousands of objections and ultimately fail.

By Observer

There is no need to demolish this beautiful red brick building. I agree that Parsonage Gardens needs regeneration, but this building is prime for refurbishment – it does not need knocking down and the suggestion is outrageous.

By Anonymous

The building it’s replacing is in urgent need of being removed – I know because my flat looks at it and it’s dingy and grim. Sure, the 1960s office blocks are not very attractive, but they are perfectly usable.

By Ralph