St John's Centre HBD
The building completed in 2001 as the first in Allied London's mixed-use scheme

HBD buys Spinningfields’ St John’s Centre

Dan Whelan

The developer, formerly Henry Boot Developments, has acquired the 39,000 sq ft building, built in 2001, from education provider LTE Group for an undisclosed sum and plans to demolish it and deliver an office scheme that would “rip up the rulebook”. 

The building on Quay Street is occupied by the Manchester College, part of LTE Group, and the college will remain there for the next two years while HBD draws up its redevelopment plans. 

Adam Brady, executive director of HBD, said: “The site has amazing development potential and offers us the chance to do something completely different for Manchester.  

“We have the chance to rip up the rulebook on how an office building should look, behave and function. This will be a completely new way of working.” 

LTE Group put St John’s Centre up for sale alongside the 97,000 sq ft Shena Simon campus just off Chorlton Street, as part of a wider estates rationalisation that began in 2016.

HBD’s acquisition has been in the works since before the Covid-19 lockdown and the developer will spend the next 12 months formulating a vision for the scheme in light of changing trends and occupier demand, according to director Dean Thompson.

The group’s plans include the creation of a 290,000 sq ft campus at the site of the former Boddingtons Brewery in Manchester, which Willmott Dixon is to build. 

The St John’s Centre building was the first to be built at developer Allied London’s Spinningfields office and leisure scheme and completed in 2001. 

The Manchester College took up residence there having relocated from a nearby campus next to the River Irwell, which was eventually redeveloped to create the Left Bank apartments. 

Agency CBRE advised HBD, and Cushman & Wakefield as agent and Mills & Reeve as lawyer advised LTE Group. 

Thompson, director and head of region at HBD, said: “HBD has invested heavily in [Manchester] in recent years and will continue to do so. We benefit from a strong financial position, with the cash to invest in the right opportunities.”  

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Whilst I am happy to see this sort of banal architecture go; it is an absolute disaster for the environment that a 19 year old building is being replaced already.

Manchester should be building for the future. Given the recent quality of buildings here, in the last 30 years, this trend is unlikely to stop.

By Observer

Agree with observer. HBD need to be more responsible and reuse what is there. Terrible eco disaster.

By Observed.

Let me guess… pretty much 5,000 sq ft hub style offices with lots of flexi space, no tenant fit out costs, all in rent, rates and utilities deals and max 2-3 year leases? Hello tenant friendly commercial property world (unless you need a shed!)…

By The Old Faithful

I second what observer said. A ridiculous indictment of the MCC planning system.

By Observee

I agree with Observer and Observed. Looking forward to seeing the designs.

By Observing

Great to observe another positive news story for Manchester. That awful building has to go though!! Maybe HBD reuse the rubble.

By Observering

Seems wrong… I also happen to know there was a bidder involved who was looking to refurb this building and occupy this as their own office.

By Cheshire boy

Built for MANCAT by Eric Wright Construction in 2000 / 2001 as the first new development in the Spinningfields district.

I recall that MANCAT had this built as part of the deal when they sold their estate adjacent the River Irwell to Allied London which formed the west part of Spinningfields.

By North by North-West

Wish I had observers crystal ball……..can you tell me tonight’s lucky numbers please?

By Redtoo

Observing we all know somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody who knows something………who was it and how much did they bid?

By Notblue

@Observer you hit the nail in the head there. It is a disaster and unfortunately one of many in Manchester. Most of the very recent developments are looking dated already. Someone will need to clear up this mess they are creating in the near future. Manchester City Council is to blame though as they are the ones approving all this nonsense. I’m all about growth but it has to be quality growth.

By Michael

There is so much negativity about Manchester on this page. I’m guessing most of the buildings that you think are poor are on the west side of the river as there are some shockers there. But you won’t find anything like the remaker towers in any other provincial city. Birmingham Leeds and Liverpool can only dream

By Andanotherthing

Can Michael inform us as to what is looking dates already?

By Mike