Funding approved for One Central Park tech base

Manchester City Council has allocated £5.3m from its capital budget to refurbish an 80,000 sq ft office at Central Park business park, for use by digital and creative companies unable to fit in the nearby Sharp Project.

One Central Park was acquired by Manchester City Council two years ago, from a company made up of a collection of Manchester universities and colleges. The building totals 83,203 sq ft of lettable office space in three blocks, with 272 car park spaces. The site is located directly opposite Greater Manchester Police’s North Manchester Divisional Headquarters on Northampton Road.

One Central Park will be remodeled to mimic the stripped-back design seen at The Sharp Project, the 200,000 sq ft refurbished warehouse at the edge of Central Park, providing accommodation for new and larger digital businesses.

The refurbishment will include reconfiguring the current offices and meeting rooms to create flexible workspace.

The ground floor will be converted into an internal plaza offering networking, work and entertainment space, along with hot-desking for both tenants and the wider Central Park community. The open air courtyard, which is currently under-used, will be enclosed with a transparent roof, similar to the Victoria Station canopy. This area will act as the heart of the building and will be dressed with a living green wall incorporating internal balconies so offices can have open access to the plaza.

Following approval of the funding, the council will now go out to market to find a contractor to deliver the scheme.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “One Central Park is an important asset for the development of the digital sector in Manchester and this work will enhance our competitive position and make the building fit for purpose and a more attractive proposition within the digital sector. The remodeling of the building will better serve the needs of the type of companies it is aimed at, and establish a vibrant creative community with space to network and collaborate. The investment will not only attract more digital businesses to consider One Central Park as a base, but it will act as a catalyst for further development opportunities across the whole of Central Park.”

It is anticipated refurbishment work will start next summer with completion expected by mid-2018.

The council was advised by PRP Architects and Turner & Townsend.

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