The refurbishment plans were approved in 2017

Wittington pulls Princess Street plans for rethink

Dan Whelan

The investment manager has withdrawn plans to refurbish and extend its 51,600 sq ft building on Princess Street in Manchester, opting to go “back to the drawing board” and return with designs that reflect the changes in the office market post-Covid-19.

Wittington Investments hopes to resubmit plans before the end of the year, according to Kevin Boylan, chief executive of Wittington’s property division.

Boylan said: “Its back to the drawing board. We are taking the approach to rethink and reimage what the plans might be in regards to what the new world might look like. 

“We have been thinking hard about getting it fit for purpose and we want to look at it with fresh eyes to allow the building to operate post-Covid.” 

The original proposals, approved in 2017, included a fourth-floor extension to the six-storey, grade two-listed building, the conversion of two ground floor restaurant units into offices, and the reconfiguration of floor plates to provide larger office suites. 

In total the work would have added an additional 8,300 sq ft to the building. 

Wittington has also opted to refresh the project team. Zerum has been rremoved as planning consultant and Bridge Architects, which designed the £5.2m refurbishment of Bruntwood’s Union headquarters in Manchester’s Albert Square, has replaced Ipswich-based architect Engine Room on the project. 

40 46 Princess Street Internal

The plans to refurbish the offices were approved in 2017

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Time for the NW default capital to ask the government for more money.

By Liverpool1

Only if the NW default capital were Liverpool would central government be likely to splurge on financially unviable office schemes, as indeed they did at Mann Island which remained stubbornly empty before Merseytravel took most of the space and saved the scheme.

By Reality

I don’t understand why all the old buildings in Manchester which are currently offices are not converted to apartments – for which they are more suited, and instead of new build apartments, build new office blocks instead. Both seem more sustainable than the current approach.

By Loganberry

Just to be clear it’s only because government stumped up for Mann Island that it was built in the first place. The fact that a local government body in Merseytravel then had to take most of the office space only underscores the financial risk of investing in offices in Liverpool and why central government has to prop up development there.

By Reality

@Liverpool1 – what? Did you read the article?

By Anonymous

I wondered why this one had stalled. They have ripped out all of the interior and now have a blank canvass I suppose. Resi or a hotel maybe?

By Steve

Daft comment baiting aside, interesting to see how all this plays our for office space. Friends working at the Coop in Manc already been told they now WFH with just one check in day every 2 weeks. Similar has been done with another friends business in Lpool. Demand for office space will surely be impacted as they look to save on overheads.

By BunBag