Plans in as BBRE seeks SME success on Mosley Street

Boultbee Brooks Real Estate has submitted a planning application for 79 Mosley Street, the corner block between Manchester Art Gallery and 2 St Peter’s Square.

The developer intends to add a mansard single-storey extension to the grade two-listed building, which would give it four full floors of office accommodation totalling 19,021 sq ft, along with 5,049 sq ft of retail and leisure space at ground floor and basement level and flexible office-leisure space at ground floor of 2,820 sq ft.

Place North West understands that the office occupier profile is organisations employing between 20 and 50 people, with a spokesman describing the target occupier as “companies that might get lost on larger floorplates, that are looking for grade A space behind a listed façade in a building that provides a much-needed entry point to St Peters Square”. The building could provide office space for 220 people and up to 80 jobs i retail/leisure.

The building was constructed as a warehouse in the 1870s and is best known in the property industry as the former home of Lambert Smith Hampton – the office floors have been empty since LSH’s move to Spinningfields in 2010. BBRE acquired the building as part of a £16m portfolio from M20 Property in 2015.

All internal structures and floors are to be replaced, and the three external facades maintained and refurbished. The reconfigured building will offer clear floorplates, optimal staircase, lift and WC provision, tackling one of the largest issues with the previous space, along with a new lobby space and rooftop plant, behind a parapet wall. The 1970s shopfront on the Mosley Street side will be removed, bringing the original shopfront back to prominence. OBI Property is project managing the redevelopment for BBRE.

Roger James, development director at BBRE said: “Our proposals will provide flexible floor space required for modern occupiers while retaining the external aesthetics of the original building. We aim to bring this long vacant and inactive, yet significant building back to life and to complete the jigsaw of the transformation of St Peter’s Square.”

Alistair Weir of architect PRP said:  “The decision to completely rebuild the internal floors was not taken lightly but due to years of alterations and the limitations of the original floorplates, it is the only feasible option. We are thrilled to be restoring the original facades – 79 Mosley Street marks the transition between the large modern commercial developments and civic buildings of St Peters Square, with the smaller scale, ornate Victorian warehouse buildings of Princess Street.”

Documents submitted to Manchester City Council describe the options run through by Boultbee Brooks, which is also responsible for redevelopment schemes at 30 Brown Street and Hyphen, also on Mosley Street. Conversion projects, to either residential or an aparthotel, were considered before being dismissed as unviable as either would necessitate “significant structural intervention”.

Martin Gizzie of OBI’s building consultancy team, said: “We have been working with BBRE and the team for over two years, in close consultation with the city council and Historic England to find a workable future for 79 Mosley Street.  The proposals submitted provide an exciting solution which will see the building facades preserved for the long-term while new, flexible office, retail and leisure space will attract occupiers looking to take advantage of this prestigious and busy location.”

The architect for the scheme is PRP. OBI is retained as agent, while the professional team also includes REDS as M&E consultant, structural engineer Tier Consult, Zerum as planner, Stephen Levrant Heritage Architecture and Renaissance as structural heritage consultant.

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