As the world changes, commercial development has always adapted. The challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic are unique and it’s likely the way in which businesses think about office space is going to be transformed.
That’s why HBD’s newly-acquired St John’s Centre site in Manchester is set to be a potential gamechanger. We’re looking to rethink the modern office, because the changes in the way we all work may turn out to be profound – long after the need for social distancing has passed.
At the heart of our plans for St John’s will be a detailed research project we’re conducting, which is designed to examine changing occupancy needs and the requirements of investors as we head further into the twenties. This study will form the basis of our manifesto for St John’s and signal a chance to move into the initial stages of the development, hopefully as early as next year. Delivery is provisionally scheduled for 2025.
The wider context, of course, is Manchester’s incredible commercial growth over the past couple of decades, matched by a population boom. The city has become an increasingly aspirational destination for people to live and work. Its vibrant city lifestyle is an obvious draw, with venues such as The Royal Exchange, as well as restaurants, bars and wide range of other amenities. HBD already has a strong presence locally through Kampus, the Island Site, the Equitable Building and the Deansgate Station regeneration.
The location of this latest acquisition really couldn’t be better. Currently home to the LTE Group’s Manchester College (which will remain on site until 2022), the site is centrally located at the point where St John’s meets Spinningfields and the New Bailey district. With other developments in progress – promising great residential accommodation, as well as the anchor cultural site of the Factory Theatre – St John’s Centre is set to be a striking addition to the landscape. It will also prove an important motor for the city economy.