Bridgewater House Interior 1, Watch This Space, P IMeg Partnership
Bridgewater House has been derelict for 25 years. Credit: via iMeg Partnership

Renaker sells Manchester asset 

Dan Whelan

Watch This Space has acquired the grade two-listed Bridgewater House and appointed Snook Architects to work up designs for its refurbishment. 

Renaker sold the Manchester building for an undisclosed sum. 

Scroll down for more images of the interior

“We look for projects that are interesting with growth potential,” said Watch This Space founder Michelle Rothwell. 

“We’ll be working with specialist architects and conservation experts and will spend more money on restoring it than we would on a new build of the same size. 

“We’re passionate that restoring buildings like this can only be a great thing for Manchester. It’s a challenge, but we love a challenge.” 

Located between Renaker’s Crown Street and Deansgate Square developments, the 23,300 sq ft Georgian building was once the headquarters of the Manchester Ship Canal Company. 

However, it has been derelict for the last 25 years.  

Watch This Space plans to refurbish Bridgewater House but it is unclear at this stage whether it will be converted for residential or commercial use.

Bridgewater House, Watch This Space, P IMeg Partnership

Bridgewater House sits between two major Renaker schemes. Credit: via iMeg Partnership

The developer has a track record for taking on restoration projects. 

The company is currently redeveloping a derelict site on Richmond Street in Manchester’s Gay Village into eight townhouses.  

Snook Architects is leading on the design of the project, too. 

James Sidlow, senior development manager at Renaker Build, said: “We identified that Watch This Space were best placed to bring this forward given their track record and expertise.  

“We look forward to seeing what Michelle has planned for this exciting element of the masterplan.”  

Rothwell launched Watch This Space in 2016 and has. The estimated turnover for the business in 2021 is £9.5m, the company said. 

Click any image to launch gallery

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Pub please

By Dan

This should be interesting. Best of luck Michelle.

By Dover

Doctors and Dentist for the Great Jackson Street residents would be a good idea

By Steve

Probably townhouses

By Meeseeks

I agree, make this a pub!

By m32

As much as I would love for this to be a pub, I do question if it is even possible to “make a pub”? A bar/gastro pub perhaps, but a traditional pub I’m not so sure of. Further I don’t think any of us are naive enough to not know that it will most probably be turned into flats of some kind.

By King Bod

No chance it will be a pub or any other kind of amenity for residents. Flip side of the “get it built!” attitude seen here and elsewhere whenever anyone wants to keep neighbourhood stuff is that Manchester developers have been given permission to do nothing but expensive housing. Will be townhouses undoubtedly.

By Alex

Yes please pub please!

By A Hilton

@King Bod

I see what you’re saying and it probably would be a gastro pub if they were to go ahead with that type of use. But this part of the city is slowly becoming more central and I think it could work given the number of new apartments surrounding it.

Lets face it we all want a new pub! Sort it out ‘Watch This Space’!

By Anonymous

And how precisely would a pub cost in after the cost of buying and refurbishment? Does anyone really think developers are charities ? Townhouses (not apartments ) are the way to go here as in St Johns St. if the refurb looks doable.

By Anonymous

Would love to see part of it as a bar/restaurant, but i can see it becoming townhouses. The amount of money it will cost to refurb, it’s probably the only viable option.

By Rob

@Anonymous – completely agree with you that this area of the City is becoming more central, same again with sort of Ordsall/Regent Road area and again I’m with you that we all want this to be a pub!

I do hope developers recognise that the residents of these new developments would quite like a ‘local’ rather than having to go into town for a drink!

By King Bod

Apartments at Deansgate square get burgled can you imagine how exposed townhouses would be here without security?

By Floyd

It would make a decent pub (especially now the Knott is gone), but it’s hardly far from any is it? The Wharf is about 200 yards away, with the Ox being about 5 minutes

By Manc

Fantastic news, so glad someone is saving this grand building, the only piece of heritage remaining on that district.

By Mr edwards

Either a health clinic/ facility of sort. Spa, dentists, Gp, pharmacy, floating or classic food space restaurant. Please no art gallery type of thing.

By Jack

A branch of Booths. Small, wealthy towns in the North have these. So the thousands in those flats would be perfect customers. I still don’t know why the one in MediaCity closed?

By Elephant

Manchester has become too tower fixated. They should now be taking more care in preserving their warehouses and industrial past. Castlefields is a good example of this. I have always enjoyed the Manchester experience although I cant see myself living there.

By Liverpool Romance

@Liverpool Romance

I don’t even think there are any more warehouses in the city centre to restore.

I’m sure the last historic one, located in the Gay Village, was renovated recently and was mentioned in a PNW article.

Even if that’s not the case, the majority of the new towers are built on surface car parks or brownfield which is generally considered an improvement. The size of available sites to build in these locations is part of the reason why Manchester is more open minded about towers.

Manchester’s city centre and surrounding urban areas have a number of these sites. It’s not all about destroying heritage, it’s about filling the gap and linking the street interaction. This is part of Manchester’s success compared to other cities which either have a height issue, have all of their heritage assets confined to a more compact city centre, or don’t have much opportunity to provide a link because there’s no heritage left e.g. most of Birmingham CC.

By Anonymous