The Co-operative Group is to occupy 16,100 sq ft in the Federation building in NOMA for staff working in online product development under the name Co-op Digital.
Federation totals 71,300 sq ft over nine floors of former textile warehouse. Co-op Digital, employing staff from different existing Co-op departments, will occupy the fifth and sixth floors. Further lettings are due to be announced soon at the building on Dantzic Street. The space has been designed to offer occupiers a blank canvas to enable a degree of customisation.
Co-op Digital is due to take occupation before December. The Co-op wants to encourage a digital theme throughout the NOMA estate, covering 20 acres of Manchester city centre between the Northern Quarter and Victoria, with superfast broadband roll-out and creative occupiers on the agenda. Manchester has ambitions to become one of Europe’s “smart cities” by 2020.
Federation was lined up to be the base for the £4m Project Forward tech hub sponsored by government. However, the council re-tendered the building contract with terms that Federation could not meet – not having a track record in hosting digital companies, for instance. A winner of the Project Forward contest has yet to be named.
Work is due to begin next door to Federation in October at another office refurbishment, at the Dantzic building, which totals 65,400 sq ft. NOMA is a joint venture between the Co-op and Hermes Investment Management.
Ben Tolhurst, asset manager at Hermes Investment Management, said:
“Manchester is increasingly becoming an attractive location for small and large businesses alike, on account of its connectivity, culture and the breadth of skills on offer. We’re delighted that Federation and our other refurbished buildings are coming online and look forward to welcoming many digital pioneers helping shape the future of NOMA as a leading UK innovation district.”
Colliers International and JLL advised. Russells is the contractor on Federation.
- Claire Braithwaite, tech advisor to Manchester Growth Company, the group of public sector organisations that sets policy in the city region, has joined Co-op Digital as ventures and partnerships consultant. She was the first head of Tech North, the government-sponsored support agency established in April 2014, but left after 10 months. She will retain a part-time role as tech advisor to MGC