No8 First Street CGI

WSP confirms move to No8 First Street

Charlie Schouten

Engineering and professional services giant WSP has confirmed its long-rumoured relocation to No8 First Street, taking 55,000 sq ft across the first and second floors on a 15-year lease.

Place North West first revealed the company was close to a deal on the building in December last year, and WSP has now confirmed the move as it looks to relocate its existing Manchester operations under one roof.

The company will move around 850 staff to First Street once the building completes in September, and the office is likely to be fully operational by the end of the year.

Staff will be moving from four main offices: WSP’s base at The Victoria in Salford Quays; the former Parsons Brinckerhoff office on Oxford Road; the fifth floor of MacLaren House in Old Trafford; and the Mouchel office at St James House on Queen Street.

WSP joins Gazprom as a tenant at the building, with the latter company signing up as a pre-let for around 40,000 sq ft over floors five and six. Gazprom has now taken occupation of these floors following a fit-out programme, although works are still ongoing elsewhere in the building.

Odeon has also been lined up as a tenant and was reported to be under offer to take 26,000 sq ft as its Manchester headquarters, relocating out of Lee House on Great Bridgewater Street.

GVA, Savills, and Metis are the joint agents for No8, while WSP was advised by Cushman & Wakefield on its move.

No8, designed by architect Fletcher Priest, features 178,000 sq ft of commercial and retail space. A number of the ground floor retail and leisure units are also said to be under offer.

It was originally set to complete in Autumn last year, but following the collapse of cladding contractor Lakesmere in November last year, followed by the liquidation of main contractor Carillion in January, it is now set to complete almost a year late. Project manager Rayner Rowen stepped in to take over from Carillion in February.

Mark Hurley, head of environment at WSP, said: “Having looked at a number of office buildings, both refurbished and new build, across the city, we chose No.8 First Street due to its central location in an area which is emerging as a vibrant, creative quarter of the city.

“It also offers us the opportunity to put our stamp on a brand-new space, marking a major milestone for the company as one of the biggest professional services and engineering consultancies in the city.”

Chris Cheap, regional senior director at GVA, added: “WSP is a great signing at No8 and they will shortly be commencing their fit out with a view to being operational by the end of the year.

“They were attracted by the large, open floorplates of No8 and the wide range of amenity which is right on the doorstep. It’s a great building, in a fantastic location, and we look forward to welcoming WSP’s team to First Street over the coming months.”

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