Transformation of landmark Express Building in Manchester completes

The transformation of the iconic Express Building is now complete, with the building now providing some of the most pioneering workspace in Manchester.

Originally built in 1939, for the Daily Express newspaper, Metis Real Estate acted on behalf of Wittington Investments when acquiring the building in 2017, with Ben Adams Architects going on to design the restoration.

Wittington Investments secured planning permission for the restoration of the grade II* listed building in early 2018 and OBI project managed the works, with the building now boasting 77,500 sq ft of contemporary workspace.

Restoration work inside the Express Building includes the internal floors being stripped out, revealing the original architecture, with a new exposed M&E system installed throughout, finished to an occupancy level of 1:8 sq m.

The Express Building reception has been redesigned to include a café and breakout space and, in the basement, wellbeing facilities with shower, changing and bicycle storage facilities, with new electric vehicle charging points also provided.

A new mezzanine floor has also been installed on the sixth floor, with the existing atrium remodelled and a new feature staircase installed, interlinking the lower ground and ground floors.

With workspace accelerator Huckletree already signed up to more than 25,000 sq ft across three floors, the remaining workspace in the Express Building can accommodate requirements of up to 52,000 sq ft. The typical floors are 11,400 sq ft, with the 5th and 6th floors both benefitting from generous external roof terraces, extending to 9,200 sq ft and 8,600 sq ft respectively.

OBI said the remaining space in the six-storey building will soon be let to occupiers from a wide range of sectors, including those who are part of the thriving creative, digital and tech scene.

Richard Lace, transactions and asset management, OBI, said: “Located in one of Manchester’s most exciting districts, The Express Building is a Manchester landmark and we’re delighted the major restoration is now complete.

“The intention was to create something timeless, that celebrates the art deco era of the original building design, using high quality materials throughout.”

“The letting agreed to Huckletree, a workspace accelerator, will activate the lower floors of the building and provide occupiers with access to meeting and breakout facilities and an unrivalled calendar of events and socials.

OBI’s workplace consultancy team worked with Huckletree on the interior design of this exciting managed workspace operator.

Dominic Horridge, Project Manager, OBI, said: “Our aim at Express Building was to be sympathetic to the original design of this art deco masterpiece, removing the interventions from the 1990s to showcase once again the architectural features of the original building.

“Working closely with Manchester City Council we were able to obtain listed building consent and we are delighted to have brought the building back as a place fit to meet the needs of the modern office occupier.”

Andrew Lynch, Co-Founder and COO of Huckletree, said: “What initially drew us to Wittington’s vision for the Express Building was its prime location in the Ancoats neighbourhood, and that it carried a deep sense of place and local history within the community.

“We were also looking for a building that gave us flexibility and allowed creativity to accommodate for varying team sizes, given the changing needs of high-growth businesses and start-ups.

“Alongside this, we’ve added an impressive 100-person event space, which moonlights as a Live Lounge for music, learning, talks, and workshops.

“Not only will Manchester be one of our largest Huckletree spaces, occupying 25,000 sq ft of the grade II* listed building, this is the first time we are taking on a full, immersive hospitality-focused role within a building.”