Windmill Green 5

SITE VISIT | Windmill Green

Charlie Schouten

Manchester’s Windmill Green has already secured its first letting after coworking firm Our Space took 13,600 sq ft, while another deal with a different occupier is on the horizon. Construction work is continuing apace, so Place North West paid a visit with main contractor Kier to see how the 78,000 sq ft office is progressing.

Developed by Fore Partnership, the project includes a complex cut-and-carve of London Scottish House, a former 40,000 sq ft office building on the corner of Mount Street and Windmill Street, opposite the Midland Hotel and the Manchester Central Convention Centre.

The project includes adding roughly another 38,000 sq ft to the building with a steel-framed extension and two additional floors, bringing a total of 78,000 sq ft of space to the market.

Kier’s work so far has seen it take the building back to its original concrete shell, and install the new steel frame.

The 58-week contract, worth £13.4m, includes the construction of a seventh-floor pavilion, and has seen Kier include a mix of old and new: the pad foundations of the former office sit next to piled foundations of the new-build element, while the building’s existing columns have had to be strengthened to take the load of the extensions above.

Columns have been secured by carbon fibre wrapping, which adds between 30 and 40% of additional strength to support the building’s two new floors. The square-patterned ceiling of London Scottish House will be retained as part of the plans, while new floor slabs will be used in the extension.

Around half of the ground floor is included in Our Space’s 13,600 sq ft letting, announced in January this year and advised by Colliers, while the remainder is set aside for a retail or leisure unit, although no occupier for this area has been secured to date.

Current plans are to split the retail and leisure space into four units, but this depends on occupiers’ requirements. The total retail and leisure space on the ground floor amounts to just under 5,600 sq ft.

Our Space has also taken the entire first floor, but there are still four floors offering 12,800 sq ft each, while the sixth floor has a floorplate of around 9,700 sq ft.

A number of other potential occupiers were shown around the site in the weeks before Place North West’s visit, and it is understood that one occupier is close to agreeing heads of terms on one floor.

The on-site is keen to talk up the building’s ‘green’ features, including solar panels and an apiary on the seventh-floor roof terrace. This terrace will also house what’s mooted to be a bar area for the building’s tenants in a 1,200 sq ft pavilion, while the communal terrace covers 2,400 sq ft.

The building will also feature a green wall on its Mount Street frontage.

While the Our Space deal was confirmed in January this year, and a deal for one floor is on the horizon, there are a number of other occupiers understood to be considering taking space in the building, including law firm Eversheds, which has a requirement of between 40,000 sq ft and 50,000 sq ft.

If it does move to Windmill Green, the company would likely take the remainder of the upper floors, but to date the company has yet to make a decision and is considering a number of other sites, including 125 Deansgate, Landmark on Oxford Street, and Eleven York Street, which is also being delivered by Kier.

Our Space’s deal is the latest in a flurry of coworking deals done in the last two years, with major occupiers including WeWork, which has 60,000 sq ft at No1 Spinningfields and 40,000 sq ft at One St Peter’s Square. Allied London’s XYZ also provides coworking space targeted at the creative and digital sectors; while other spaces include Central Working on Deansgate and That Space at 33 Princess Street.

Windmill Green is due to open in the summer. The professional team on the project also includes TP Bennett as architect, while Knight Frank and Lambert Smith Hampton are the agents.

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