St John’s to progress on Castlefield sale

Manchester City Council has approved a deal to buy the 32,000 sq ft office block on Liverpool Road from Allied London, a move to help redevelop the neighbouring Campfield Markets, part of the wider district masterplan.

Under the deal – the value of which was not disclosed – the city council will surrender and dispose of the long leaseholds of Castlefield House, Lower and Upper Campfield Market in Manchester to developer Allied, to consolidate the site’s ownership.

Allied proposes to refurbish and regenerate the buildings, providing new workspace for creative and technology businesses and an events venue, as part of its ongoing development of the St John’s district west of the city centre, including the 1m sq ft Enterprise City commercial quarter.

Manchester City Council has agreed to spend £3.75m on restoring refurbishing Castlefield House, to help unlock the 118,000 sq ft Campfield Markets regeneration. However, it retains the freehold and therefore an income through the lifespan of the long lease.

Michael Ingall, chief executive of Allied London, told Place North West: “This project is an important continuation of Enterprise City and will build on the momentum behind the whole area of St John’s. The project itself is timely and will provide a unique mix of uses adding to the diverse inventory of Enterprise City.

“These buildings are important, so it’s a pivotal project, the restoration and re-adaption needs to add more depth to the economy of the city and provide a stage and scope for new opportunities in the city.”

The markets were used as events space before the pandemic

The grade two-listed Campfield markets – which were used as event space before the pandemic – have long been plotted for redevelopment, with the city council appointing Allied as its development partner in 2016. The market buildings occupy a site on Barton Street off Deansgate, close to the Science and Industry Museum (Mosi). They date from the late 1800s.

Upper Campfield Market is currently vacant, while Lower Campfield Market was used as Mosi’s air and space gallery.

Allied acquired Castlefield House in 2016 from investor Property Alliance Group and set out plans later that year to redevelop the building as part of its extension of the St John’s masterplan. Concept designs at the time envisaged a mixed-use building on Liverpool Road, with flats and a Rotterdam Market Hall-inspired project linking the two warehouses.

Lower Campfield Market was to be reworked to create a multi-use events and workspace, while Upper Campfield Market was to be redeveloped into a food and beverage concept called Union City, in partnership with the council.

Allied has yet to reveal its latest plans for the site but a consultation is expected now the asset sale has been signed off.

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