Kendals Deansgate Revamp View Down Southgate From King Street West
View of the Sheppard Robson-designed scheme down Southgate from King Street West

Investec unveils 500,000 sq ft Kendals revamp

Sarah Townsend

Manchester’s grade two-listed Kendal Milne building on Deansgate, home to House of Fraser, is to be redeveloped into offices with some retail retained on the ground floor, under proposals from its South African owner.

Johnannesburg-listed asset manager Investec plans to demolish and replace the multistorey car park that sits behind the building with a modern office block, which, together with a repurposing of the upper floors of the main building, would provide 500,000 sq ft of grade A office space.

Removing the car park fits with Manchester City Council’s vision for a zero-carbon future, and enables a complete overhaul of the surrounding streets where pedestrians and cyclists will be prioritised, under Investec’s plans.

Affectionately known as ‘Kendals’ to Mancunians, the Art Deco property was purpose built in 1939 as a department store. But with large-scale retail facing an uncertain future due to the rise of e-commerce and ongoing pandemic, its owner views the office proposal as a more sustainable use, and one that would safeguard the building for the long term.

Under the plans, a “more sustainable” level of retail would be retained on the lower floors, with active shop frontages continuing the retail and leisure-focussed character of Deansgate, and office entrances provided on King Street West.

There would also be new elements such as external glazing and a rooftop extension to add more floorspace and create a light and financially viable office, according to Investec.

The asset manager has launched a consultation on the proposals, which have been designed by Sheppard Robson Architects and form part of the St Mary’s Parsonage Strategic Regeneration Framework, which was published earlier this year and adopted in July.

The consultation on the Kendal Milne building will run until 30 October and a planning application is expected to be submitted later this year.

House Of Fraser Manchester

The Art Deco department store is currently occupied by House of Fraser

The project team also includes Deloitte Real Estate as planner; Stephen Levrant Heritage Architecture as heritage advisor); Cundall as sustainability consultant; LAYER as landscape architect; MHBC Cumming as development and project manager, and Fairhurst and structural engineer.

The scheme is expected to play an important role in creating jobs and aiding Manchester city centre’s economic recovery. If redeveloped, the site is expected to support 4,000 jobs – including around 420 retained in the retail sector – and inject around £300m into the local economy every year, the project team said.

Mickey Nurtman, head of structured property finance at Investec, said: “Our starting point for this project was to celebrate the Kendals building and ensure it remains an iconic focal point of Deansgate for many years to come.

“Pairing this revitalised early-twentieth century heritage building with a new build that demonstrates the best in modern architecture, will deliver a andmark city centre office campus that responds to emerging trends for flexibility, sustainability, character and wellbeing.”

The scheme represents a “significant investment in the city of Manchester and would lead the way in the [St Mary’s Parsonage] district’s complete transformation”, Nurtman added.

Will Lewis, founding director at OBI Property, the commercial agent for the scheme, said: “Despite the economic headwinds, we are seeing sustained demand for new Grade A office space in prime locations within the city.

“Although working patterns are changing, the long-term impact of Covid-19 is likely to see even greater demand for high quality office space that prioritises the health and comfort of its occupiers, while offering access to leisure and cultural amenities.”

The St Mary’s Parsonage SRF sets out regeneration opportunities for the area between Blackfriars Street and Bridge Street, and includes plans to improve Parsonage Gardens and demolish the 18-storey Albert Bridge House the other side of the gardens from the Kendal Milne property. 

John Cooper, partner at Deloitte Real Estate, said: “The Kendals department store is a building close to the hearts of many Mancunians and it is very good news to see these plans brought forward. As highlighted by the pre-planning consultation, many options have been considered and tested throughout the design process, enabling the developer to carefully adapt the purpose-built department store and breathe new life into the space.

“These plans have come at the right time, given the challenges and uncertain future faced by many UK department stores, as we look to secure the long-term sustainable future of this important asset. Additionally, the redevelopment of the multistorey car park is in line with the council’s aims to reduce traffic levels in the core of the city, allowing for the creation of further office space and creating more jobs.”

“[The scheme] also provides a tremendous opportunity to transform the quality and friendliness of the public realm and local environment in and around St Mary’s Parsonage, which will act as a positive stimulus to further regeneration in this area.”

Your Comments

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Absolutely fantastic proposals, and shows what amazing things can be achieved when we remove horrible ugly cars from our streetscapes.

By Anonymous

I’m glad the building is being looked after and also that it’s not just being turned into flats.

By Thumbs Up

I like this, the paving and greenery is a nice addition.

By Meeseeks

Can we all stop using the word ‘greenery’

By Anonymous

Great intention but people are using cars more and more right now. A vaccine could change this but will Altrincham commuters really want to sit for over on hour on a tram full of ‘characters’?

By Cheshire boy

About time that monstrosity of a car park and ugly row of shops went. Great proposal and love the fact that the street at the back of Kendall’s is being pedestrianised, hopefully along with the rest of Deansgate

By Steve

Can we all stop using the word ‘greenery’
October 12, 2020 at 1:07 pm By Anonymous

What word shall we use instead?

By Meeseeks

Great scheme, good to see the reuse of the Kendal’s building and a better use of multi-storey car park site. All tied together with much needed improvements to the public realm and greenery linking to Parsonage Gardens.

By DM

Gets the thumbs up from me….

By Manc Man

This is an excellent proposal. The car park was one of the biggest postwar mistakes in Central Manchester and I will be delighted to see the back of it!

By Observer

Death of High end retail if ‘ ladies who lunch’ can’t park close by.
The plan needs to consider why the car park is the most expensive NCP in the city.

By Tina Brown

Interesting plans, I don’t think anyone will miss that carpark

By Jon P

@Cheshire boy, likewise, if everyone starts using cars again, I can assure you, they will be sitting in stuck traffic for longer than on a tram.

By EOD

I’m glad something is happening to this lovely building, but I wonder how this can honestly be attractive office space without windows – unless they plan to replace the glass bricks.

Also, it is sad that we will lose our last full department store in central Manchester. (Selfridges in the city centre can’t really be called a department store when they only have one department there – clothing/fashion)

By EOD

Looks like a sensible proposal for this part of town although it’s important to ensure all of the larger car parks close by like Spinningfields , and the Great Northern continue to be utilised as relatively few people use bikes and despite the uptake during Covid this is not the Netherlands.

By Anonymous

I’m a fan of the greenery!

By Anonymous

One ugly 1970s multistorey carpark down two more to go – Arndale and Tib Street.

By Monty

Looks great but I think it needs more greenery

By Lenny68

I do like the greenery but I’d like to see more greenery if possible

By Anonymous

Interesting how a few people are talking about more greenery. I am thinking a solution to that could be in the pedestrianisation of Deansgate in this area. When a permanent pedestrian zone is created, trees could certainly be added there. That would help.

By EOD

More greenery less cars, thats my motto.

By Anonymous

The buildings look excellent. I like the mixture in tones of grey… or should I say ‘greynery’? All for planting & pedestrianisation! Big up the greenery

By Anonymous

Astroturf it

By Anonymous

And how are Manchester City Council proposing to increase public transport and infrastructure to be fit for a 21st Century City allowing people to still access the city centre?

By New Wave

To be honest, I don’t see how they’re able to retain much of the building’s character by keeping the shell and stripping out the soul. Despite the triumph in online shopping trends, there is still a need for department stores. As an 18 year old young adult, I prefer to go out shopping and make an experience out of it. There is the argument that online shopping is more convenient, however my counterargument is that you’re achieving more convenience by taking yourself out shopping because you’re getting a bit of daily exercise by doing that. I believe that there’s a need for online shopping, but I think people would be putting themselves at better advantage by going out to do their shopping.

So I disagree with these plans. There isn’t a shortage of office space in Greater Manchester and there’s also plenty of room for office development within the Deansgate area.

Converting these kind of places into mostly offices is a boring concept I think. Another example of this concept is the Rylands building (Debenhams) on Market Street. There is great potential for success when it comes to trading on these upper floors, it just comes down to how they attract people up to those sales floors.

By Ryan Evans