Bruntwood has completed its £8m redevelopment of 52,000 sq ft Bank House on the edge of Manchester’s Chinatown and Piccadilly aimed at small creative agencies.
The Charlotte Street building introduces Bruntwood’s new “more flexible and transparent” all-in pricing structure, avoiding hidden service charges. The interior design is also a departure from Bruntwood’s traditional stock, with extensive coworking lounge areas, small “studio spaces” for two to 10 people and softer furnishings which feel more like a bar or apartment than an office. The building has its own dedicated community manager, Jenna Gibson, who will arrange events and “wellbeing benefits” for occupiers; access to the building is via a mobile app rather than a key fob.
The project team includes Bridge Architects, contractor Dragonfly and designer Neighbourhood.
The reception includes a £250,000 digital art wall with a launch commission by Brendan Dawes using real-time data from energy consumption in the building to produce moving coloured shapes.
Chris Oglesby, chief executive of Bruntwood, said: “The proposition at Neo has been specifically designed to encourage creatively-minded businesses of all sizes. We’ve actively developed the health and wellbeing benefits for our customers here and we’re incredibly excited to see the community grow.”
Oglesby added that if successful he would be keen to see Bruntwood acquiring sites in Greater Manchester towns where he envisaged bringing a “city centre proposition” in shared spaces targeted at fast growth enterprises. He said a number of discussions were held during MIPIM with outlying GM towns.
Oglesby explained: “If we want Government, central and local, to focus on excellence that has got to permeate out geographically.” He said there was a renewed sense of purpose in the orbital towns around Manchester and investment in town centres is starting to happen again.
Inside Neo, the first floor is a coworking lounge which does not generate rent for Bruntwood. Floors two and three contain 24 studios, units for between two and 10 people, and these are 100% let. Floors four to 12 have floorplates of 4,500 sq ft where workspaces can be divided down to a minimum of 1,200 sq ft. There is also a shared roof terrace on the first floor with heated meeting pods.
Tenants so far include Manchester Digital, Radium One, Lateral Property Group, Pitch Consultants, One Stream, Proveca, Carrot Pharma, More2, Visixtwo, Accent Software, The Penketh Group, Kingsley Recruitment and Azo Network. Other unnamed occupiers have floors under offer, Bruntwood said.
Photographs by Ben Blackall