Society, Castlebrooke, P.Colliers
Colliers is the sole letting agent for the building. Credit: via Colliers

Manchester’s CIS Tower to become £150m ‘vertical district’ 

Dan Whelan

Castlebrooke Investments’ refurbishment project will see the 425,000 sq ft building split into three distinct parts and rebranded as Society. 

Society will offer “all the facilities of a HQ environment with flexible workspaces, meeting rooms, conference suites and the convenience of on-site amenities”, according to Castlebrooke. 

Once complete, the CIS Tower will be split into three zones: 

  • Tower – 143,527 sq ft of workspace across 26 floors 
  • Podium – 207,379 sq ft of the “largest and most flexible office floorplates in Manchester” 
  • Street – food and beverage, retail, and leisure amenities at street level 

“The tower has been at the forefront of innovation in Manchester city centre since it was first erected in the 1960s,” said a spokesperson from Castlebrooke.  

“Our redevelopment strategy continues this forward-thinking tradition, reimagining the building to form a vertical district that will attract distinct user types to its three component parts as the way we work and live in the city evolves.” 

Castlebrooke bought the 28-storey CIS Tower in Manchester’s 20-acre NOMA district for £66m in 2017. In 2019, Trafford Council approved a £60m loan for the refurbishment of the grade two-listed building.

At the beginning of the pandemic, plans to revamp the tower were approved by Manchester City Council. 

That project, designed by SimpsonHaugh Architects, has now been reimagined post-Covid.

Built in the 1960s as Manchester’s first skyscraper, the tower was previously occupied by Cooperative Insurance. However, the building is now vacant. 

Colliers International has been appointed as sole letting agent for Society

“Society is a celebration of all Manchester was, is and can be,” said Michael Hawkins, director and head of national offices agency at Colliers. 

“Castlebrooke’s redevelopment and rebranding will position the building to cater for current and future occupier requirements, creating an environment that meets the diverse needs of Manchester’s ever-evolving business community.”  

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Society complements the established neighbourhood of vibrant communities in this part of the city and marks an exciting new era for the building and a creative re-imagining of an established working environment, which Manchester’s business community will no doubt embrace.”   

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This is a listed building – can that crappy sign stay off it please?

By Dave

Agree with Dave, this is one of the best postwar buildings in Manchester. That sign is a travesty.

By 1981

Good news. P.S I like the signage.

By Steve

Excellent news and a great use of a fantastic building.

By Coopster

The only time I’ll ever say “There’s no such thing as Society.” – CIS Tower forever!

By Tom

My first job was at CIS in the Tower, and looking at these proposals the only thing missing back in the day was the shopping and retail elements on the ground floor being proposed here. Its hardly a radical proposal……

By manc

What exactly is the actual building being used for

By Doris

CIS Tower was where I had my first job…..I will always call it CIS even if they change the name to Society

By Sue

They appear to have gutted the tower inside which is a good thing as it was I remember looking very tired. For the many millions spent on the site I expect it to be as iconic as it always was. Love the ‘new ‘Co-op HQ opposite though that really is an impressive design.

By Tardigrade

I have got to say that the choice of name for this Tower is an extremely poor one. What on earth possessed the new owners to agree to such a misleading noun for a building.
It just doesn’t make sense!
It doesn’t identify the structure as a tower block and it misleads people into viewing it as something else!
It is up there with other crackedpot names given out by today’s youngsters!
You have just missed a golden opportunity to give it a proper and memorable name!

By Tony Zajac

Chartist Tower. Local history, co-operative, community-related, democratic. It means something. It even makes sense … shock, horror!

By James Yates