Historic Manchester building set for 1920s inspired transformation

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Landmark Manchester building, Blackfriars House, is set to undergo a major transformation as part of Bruntwood Works’ £50m Pioneer refurbishment project.

Inspired by the building’s heritage, its renovation will create a collaborative hub for creative and digital businesses offering flexible workspaces of all sizes with unique style.

The work, which is now underway, will include a relaxed lounge and co-working area on the ground floor, a bookable events and auditorium space, while an independent coffee shop will create an amazing communal atmosphere for the building.

With a nod to the building’s rich heritage, the new ground floor lounge area will have a 1920s feel with co-working areas, meeting spaces and quiet concentration zones all designed with the iconic era in mind.

Also paying homage to the ‘roaring 20s’ will be a meeting room that mirrors a traditional-style living room, with seating set around a fireplace, a presentation screen designed as a photo frame and bookshelves that double up as a podcast station.

Following increased customer demand for flexible workspace, the new transformation will also see Blackfriars dedicate the whole fourth floor to newly created serviced offices, creating a platform for businesses to grow into as they progress their journey.

Ciara Keeling, CEO of Bruntwood Works, said: “This is an incredibly exciting time for us as we continue to roll out our Pioneer programme across our portfolio, improving facilities and offering next-level service to customers.

“Our Pioneer buildings offer a full range of space from meeting rooms to full floors of workspace and everything in between. Adding different types of spaces to Blackfriars will allow customers to access everything under one roof and flex within the building as their needs change.

This is all combined with amazing communal spaces that will enable collaboration between neighbours, spaces to host industry-leading events and join in with our community engagement programmes, as well as an independent coffee shop. We’re formulating exciting plans for the rooftop terrace space that we’ll be able to share soon.”

Located just off Deansgate in the Parsonage Gardens Conservation Zone, the historic Blackfriars building stands on the banks of the River Irwell. It is an impressive testament to Manchester’s industrial heritage. As well as new workspace, the transformation - designed by architects MgMaStudio and fit-out specialists DragonFly - will bring an enhanced environment with a true focus on wellbeing and collaboration.

The refurbishment is part of Bruntwood Works’ Pioneer project, which focuses on providing innovative environments with the ‘wow factor’.

The programme centres on enhancing six key themes across its buildings, from technology and sustainability to biophilia, wellbeing, amenity and art. It also highlights Bruntwood Works’ commitment to creating connected communities within its regions, helping customers to build strong networks across neighbouring buildings to fuel growth.

It will be rolled out at selected buildings across Bruntwood Works’ regional portfolio, which consists of £937 million of assets across Manchester, Cheshire, Liverpool and Leeds and Birmingham.

Ciara said: “The transformation at Blackfriars will improve a building that’s already earned a reputation for being one of the most sought-after workspaces in Manchester city centre and we’re looking forward to unveiling the first phase of its refurbishment later in the year, welcoming new customers to the Bruntwood Works community.”

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