HS2 Ltd, the company established to deliver high-speed railway connections between key cities, has signed terms on office space at Barlow House, Minshull Street.
The organisation said that as work steps up to extend HS2 to both Leeds and Manchester, the move reinforces HS2’s commitment to work with partners, including Transport for the North, in order to enable Northern Powerhouse Rail services.
Place understands that the organisation will be accommodated within space occupied in the building by the Secretary of State. HS2 Ltd relocated its headquarters from London to the Midlands three years ago, and will use the base close to Piccadilly station for its core team in the North.
Mark Thurston, chief executive, said: “HS2 is crucial to delivering Transport for the North’s ambitions for Northern Powerhouse Rail. By having a new base in Manchester we are able to work closer with our Northern partners. Together, HS2 and NPR will enable faster, more frequent and reliable services throughout the North.
“The spare capacity released on the northern sections of the HS2 network will enable future NPR services, so the two projects work seamlessly to maximise the benefits of the UK’s investment in future rail. With towns and cities set to benefit across the North, HS2 will transform rail journeys and give passengers thousands of extra seats every day.”
The development has been welcomed by transport figureheads in the region. Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham described the move as “a real statement of intent” adding “I look forward to working with HS2 to ensure the North gets the maximum benefit from the better connections and released capacity that HS2 and NPR will deliver”.
Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “The Northern Powerhouse Partnership welcomes the move by HS2 to have a permanent office base in Manchester, with the work on the phases to Crewe, to Manchester and to Leeds advancing.
“HS2, delivered together with Northern Powerhouse Rail, will be transformational and has the potential to support hundreds of thousands of jobs.”
Among the “key corridors” included in NPR that could use HS2 infrastructure is the Manchester-Liverpool via Warrington route, where NPR services could use HS2 infrastructure, including the 13km Manchester tunnel, to serve HS2 stations at Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly, potentially bringing the journey time between the North West’s tow largest cities down to 30 minutes.
The only space left available at Barlow House, owned by Orbit, are the ground and first floors, which are being marketed by Edwards & Co and James Andrew International. Floorplates are around 5,500 sq ft.