Boot, pension fund, in £66m Manchester office plan

Sheffield-based Henry Boot announced that its property investment and development business HBD and its 50:50 joint venture partner Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) have commenced work on Island, a £66 million GDV speculative office development in Manchester city centre.

Located in a key site in Manchester city centre’s prime core, Island will see the sustainable redevelopment of a 10-storey building into c.100,000 sq ft of net zero carbon, smart-enabled office accommodation,” said Henry Boot.

“The building is targeting the highest sustainability certifications, including an EPC ‘A’ rating, BREEAM Excellent and a 5.5 star carbon NABERS rating.

Bowmer + Kirkland has been appointed the main contractor to build the scheme, with construction of the Cartwright Pickard designed scheme scheduled to commence this month with practical completion due in summer 2024.

Close to both Spinningfields and St Peter’s Square in Manchester city centre, Island is surrounded by an abundance of leisure and dining amenities and public transport connections.

“Manchester’s office letting market remained robust throughout the pandemic, with prime space continuing to be in demand.

“Availability of offices with outstanding ESG credentials is particularly scarce, with a number of corporates seeking a regional base only considering offices that meet the highest sustainability standards, which Island’s net zero carbon proposition satisfies.

HBD, led by strong customer demand and in line with its strategic target, continues to build up its committed development programme, the vast majority of which is either pre-let or pre-funded.”

Ed Hutchinson of HBD said: “Our decision to speculatively develop Island is a real statement of intent, and demonstrates our confidence not only in Manchester but in the future of workspace more broadly.

“While working patterns have evolved, demand for high-quality, well-located office space remains robust.

“Targeting the highest sustainability standards, the project’s innovative design, combined with its people-focused and ‘smart’ office space, align perfectly with the enhanced standards the modern occupier demands.”  

Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) chair Brenda Warrington said: “The start of work on site at Island is a major landmark for the development and the Manchester City Centre office market. 

“As the next generation of office accommodation reflecting new ways of flexible working, our ambition is to achieve zero carbon and provide the highest levels of accessibility required by future occupiers.  

“Funding from GMPF to projects such as this, meets our twin aims of achieving a good return for our members’ pensions, whilst also delivering a positive economic and social regeneration impact on the city.”