111 Piccadilly
Work at 111 Piccadilly is being overseen by 3DReid

Bruntwood launches £50m office refurb programme

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Bruntwood has set aside £50m to invest in improving its existing office portfolio, with the first schemes at map pin111 Piccadilly and map pinBlackfriars House in Manchester set to start on site in June.

In the first phase, Bruntwood Works, the company’s division which oversees the investment and operation of regional offices, will also be carrying out a refurbishment of the Cornwall Buildings in Birmingham. The programme will then be rolled out on a wider basis across the portfolio, which totals £937m of assets in Manchester, Cheshire, Liverpool, Leeds and Birmingham.

In the North West, following 111 Piccadilly and Blackfriars, the next buildings to be refurbished will be map pinLowry House and Centurion House in Manchester city centre, Trafford House in Trafford, and The Plaza and Cotton Exchange in Liverpool.

The investment is centred around improving the technology and sustainability of the buildings as part of the Bruntwood pledge to make old buildings net zero carbon emitting by 2050, installing biophilia and artworks, improving wellbeing, and adding amenity.

At 111 Piccadilly, architect 3DReid will be co-ordinating the refurbishment, which will see a café lounge, exhibition and event space installed on the ground floor.

On the London Road side, a planted entrance is being designed and installed by ANS, and a garden is being created outside the reception with trees planted in partnership with City of Trees.

At Blackfriars House, off Parsonage Gardens, the scheme includes a redevelopment of the existing rooftop space to include a restaurant and bar, designed by MgMaStudio Architecture, with a garden filled with grasses and flowers, as well as seating, lighting and shelter created specifically for the space.

Blackfriars Roof

Existing rooftop at Blackfriars

The ground floor will have a café, run by the same operator as the restaurant, and a lounge, event space and co-working areas.

A balcony will also be built at Blackfriars facing the River Irwell, and a lightwell installed inside to feature art projections.

Ciara Keeling, chief executive of Bruntwood Works, said: “This is just the start of an exciting period of growth for Bruntwood Works. We have a long history of developing inspirational workspaces and have always sought to disrupt the market through constant innovation of our customer proposition. This investment will ensure our customers continue to have exciting, innovative and inspirational spaces to work and socialise in. Spaces which not only create incredible environments and communities for our customers to thrive in, but also support the attraction of talent, productivity and wellbeing.”

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Last time Bruntwood bragged they were about to invest millions in a Liverpool office building refurbishment, it turned out it involved emptying the large office involved of its business tenants, leaving the exterior paint to peel for two years (photographs retained) and then having it turned into (still visibly barely occupied) apartments.

Is the Plaza still up for sale? It’s sad to now see asset maximisation companies snapping up Liverpool office blocks knowing that the city’s companies have very few options left, representing not growth but only the tail end of Liverpool having every penny of “value” squeezed from it. Until the next recession hits and we’re left with a hollow economy fully exposed, that is.

By Mike

Fear not Mike, Bruntwood are bringing lots of great investment, Circle Square, Citylabs, Alderly Park, all good for the North West region

By Yes

its only 5% of the value of the buildings.

By Blogsey