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.
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.”