Work has started on phase 2 of a £15million project to renovate the Grade II listed Royal Exchange in Manchester on behalf of Trinistar Manchester, a joint venture between Starwood Capital and Trinity Investment Management.
The works will sensitively upgrade the existing retail arcade that links Cross Street with St. Ann’s Square, restore and enhance the exterior stonework of the local landmark and install new feature lighting and signage.
Justin O’Connor, conservation architect at Corstorphine + Wright said:
“Our design integrates the rich history of the building while adding contemporary interventions using materials and finishes in keeping with the original features. Across all phases, our approach will be to fuse the heritage architecture with a new layer of modernism to ensure the new spaces will attract a high calibre of tenants who will benefit from a great building in a first class central location.
Whilst upgrades are needed to ensure the building meets modern accessibility standards, it has some tremendous features which are currently hidden underneath unnecessary finishes that dilute the quality of the building. Our primary role is to restore these features and bring the quality of the interior spaces in line with the quality of the external structure.”
Since acquiring the building in 2014 Trinistar has been gradually assessing the fabric of the building in order to ensure the delivery of flexible and high quality commercial and retail stock through these renovation works.
Last updated in 1990 the offices are now regarded as outdated and tired. Windows will be restored to their full height to allow daylight to penetrate the floorplates and the original high ceilings will be reinstated. A particular focus will be made to ensure the building and facilities are compliant with modern accessibility standards and a new office reception will be installed, featuring quality, brushed bronze sliding doors.
Originally built in 1874 as an important textile trading exchange fronting St Ann’s Square, the building has a rich history; it was extended and remodelled in 1914 and officially opened by King George V with much of the distinctive, detailed stone work and masonry dating to this time. In December 1940, the northern half of the building was destroyed in the Manchester Blitz and rebuilt as offices with a number of modifications and refurbishments following over the years, many of which have diluted the quality of the original historic building. The Royal Exchange Theatre Company took up residence in 1973 with the Levitt Bernstein designed theatre completed in 1976. In 1996 a bomb, detonated by the IRA on nearby Corporation Street caused significant damage to the structure.
The first phase of the renovation work, the refurbishment of the northern offices, is well underway and will complete in the summer of 2016.