The developer’s chief executive, Mike Ingall, revealed a major reworking of a site in the centre of the St John’s masterplan in Manchester, replacing part of the residential element with a 250,000 sq ft “enterprise cluster” called Central Village.
Designed by SimpsonHaugh & Partners, the building will be a hybrid of various uses in layered, interconnected blocks to accommodate offices, studios, retail, leisure, and public realm. There will also be 50 apartments incorporated into the top floor.
Speaking on the Manchester stand on the final day of MIPIM, Ingall said: “St John’s is the extension of Spinningfields, and we want to link the two through enterprise, connecting the Bonded Warehouse to XYZ, so the two can talk to each other through their tenants and this new type of building.”
Allied London is currently on site with the 180,000 sq ft XYZ office building in Spinningfields, which is already fully let to a mix of tenants including NCC Group, Global Radio and Shoosmiths. Ingall said that Central Village would be targeted at a similarly eclectic mix of tenants.
“Central Village will create a lateral building where corporations can have a proper work space,” he explained.
“The design is based around a collegiate concept. We want to attract around a dozen occupiers to the commercial space and ensure they can collobrate and share ideas with each other.”
A planning application for Central Village is due to be submitted in the summer, and a start on site planned for March 2017, he said.
Speaking after the presentation, Ingall told Place North West: “We had to look at the part of the masterplan known as Village 2 very carefully. When the masterplan was first developed, the Factory was yet to be confirmed. Now we know that that area could attract up to 3,000 people when events are on, and we need to take advantage of that with the right uses. We were also inspired by the success of the XYZ building, so want to emulate that.”
Central Village will sit on a plot next to the £110m Factory and the Bonded Warehouse, near to Village 1, the first phase of residential development withoin St John’s.
The XYZ building was sold by Allied London for £85m to German fund Union Investment last week.
Ian Simpson, architect behind the Central Village, said the design would create a “space to integrate a series of interconnected floorplates… essentially a series of separate forms, which will lock together, but be flexible for a range of uses and create a platform for the ‘passive interaction’ we want to encourage between the occupiers.”
Simpson said that each section of the building would have “a different architectural form and be made from a different material”, but that overall Central Village was designed to be light, with open terraces running between the blocks, alongside public realm and retail units.
“The functionality and composition of the building is the focus,” Simpson said. “We want to create something really unique, which will sit next to the Factory and Bonded Warehouse and reflect the uses of both and creates a vibrant neighbourhood.”
Ingall also used his presentation on the Manchester stand to reveal concept designs for two additions to the public realm within the Spinningfields estate, which he described as “playful”. The first, Hardman Square Boulevard, would be a timber-framed restaurant and garden space, designed by Sheppard Robson.
The second, called The Skirt, would replace the Oast House bar and restaurant with a mixed-use building including a cinema and associated amenities. The architect for The Skirt is Levitt Bernstein.
Last week, Ingall took to Twitter to hint about his idea for “a new major project” he referred to as Whitworth Street Corridor, connecting the recently acquired London Road Fire Station near Piccadilly station, with St John’s on the other side of the city centre. On the Manchester stand, Ingall described the concept as “an arc of experience and culture”, which would connect to other schemes along the route of the street including Henry Boot Developments and Capital & Centric’s Kampus, Urban & Civic on Princess Street, Bruntwood’s Corner House and Oxford Road station.
However, Ingall stressed that his plans for Whitworth Street were “very much just an idea” at this stage, with details yet to be discussed with the various landowners and developers along the route.