Ask and its construction partner Bam are well under way delivering the sister office to 101 Embankment, adding 166,000 sq ft of offices to Manchester’s booming market. Place North West visited the site with the developer to see how work is progressing.
The £65m development has been on site since last year, after Bam stepped in to take over the job following the collapse of Carillion, which delivered its neighbour 101 Embankment and was in negotiations for the build.
Much of the work including concrete pours and reinforcement has been taking place out of sight and behind the listed former railway station structure, one of the site’s key features; however, the steel frame is now beginning to rise at a rate of knots. Place visited the site with Jamie Hills of Ask with the building on course to complete next year.
The office boasts large floor plates just shy of 20,000 sq ft, which Hills said was a deliberate choice based on the demands of potential occupiers; the building’s curved façade is a result of these expanded floor plates.
Much of the layout has been kept as column-free as possible, while Ask has also taken the decision to ditch any potential retail at ground floor, due to the lack of footfall through the site, given its location; this opens up the ground and first floor to office occupiers.
The building also has an impressive double-height glass-fronted atrium facing its sister building, which cantilevers out towards the approach to the two offices, and a mezzanine level, due to be home to staff facilities and amenity space.
A roof terrace featuring seating areas, event space and a potential café are also being proposed for the use of the building’s tenants.
The building is likely to be let out as demand dictates, with Ask either taking tenants on a floor-by-floor basis or a pre-let for the whole building, much like 101 Embankment, which was fully let to insurance company Swinton before completion. Hills said rent was “competitive” at under £30/sq ft, particularly given the building’s location a stone’s throw from Victoria Station and Deansgate.
The scheme is fully funded, having been backed by Tristan Capital Partners and Salford City Council; the gross development value is £65m, and the construction cost is around £40m. Delivered speculatively, Hills said there has been strong interest in the building so far, although no tenants have yet been confirmed. CBRE and Cushman & Wakefield are the agents, while Flanagan Lawrence is the architect.