Manchester City Council has granted listed building and planning consent for the redevelopment of the 78,900 sq ft grade two-listed Express Building on Great Ancoats Street.
Originally designed by Sir Owen Williams for the Express newspaper group, completing in 1939, the refurbishment project is being led by OBI Property and designed by Ben Adams Architects.
The reception is to be completely redesigned and a cut-out introduced at ground floor with a feature staircase linking the lower ground and ground floors. The internal floors will be stripped out, with original features brought to the fore. A mezzanine floor will be installed on the sixth floor.
James Bostock of OBI’s building consultancy team said: “Express Building is a Manchester landmark and receiving planning and listed building consent is an important step on our journey to bring the building back to life.
“Our intention is to raise the bar, combining efficient, super-connected workspace, with unrivalled occupier amenities in one of the most dynamic areas of the city centre.”
One of the options being considering is to seek a co-working operator for the lower floors, with more traditional, larger occupiers targeted for the upper floors.
Already this year, co-working operator Our Space has taken 13,600 sq ft at Windmill Green, following operators such as WeWork to the city, while landlords including Bruntwood and Allied London have committed space to flexible working within developments.
Richard Lace, transactions and asset management, OBI Property said: “When completed Express Building will provide forward-thinking, contemporary workspace that respects the character of this iconic property.
“The building has the ability to accommodate a variety of size requirements and will be aimed at occupiers from a wide range of sectors, including those who are part of the thriving digital and tech scene.”
Work is expected to begin on site imminently with completion towards the end of 2018. The building was bought by Wittington Investments from US company A&A Investment for £10.5m in March 2017.
The project team includes OBI as project manager, cost cocultant, contract administrator and principal designer and leasing agent; Ben Adam Architects as architect; Tier Consult as structural engineer; Zerum as M&E consultant and planning consultant; and Stephen Levrant Heritage Architecture as heritage consultant.