Manchester building formerly used by Co-operative Insurance facing demolition

The 13-storey building at 55 Portland Street dates back to 1961

A former Co-operative Insurance building on Portland Street, Manchester, could be demolished to make way for a new hotel.

An application submitted to the City Council on 24 April 18 aims to replace the site with a building of ground floor (including mezzanines) plus 16 upper storeys comprising a new hotel with a bar, restaurant and business suite.

The site currently includes an 11-storey steel framed office building on top a podium (13 storeys in total). The building, which is 40m high, dates back to 1961. It was designed by Norman Bailey & Partners and was one of the first “curtained walled” modern buildings in the city.

The area has many listed buildings and was one of the plots bombed during World War II. The site was redeveloped between 1959 and 1961 as ‘Telephone House’ and was used by BT until the late 1990s.

The building was then used by the Co-op Group’s Co-operative Insurance business. While there, the Co-op installed micro-wind turbines on the roof of the building in 2006.

After the Co-operative Insurance Society left the property in 2010, the existing office building has remained underused with nine of the 13 floors being vacant.

The application for the redevelopment of the site was submitted on 24 April by Andy Lavin as head of developments, Property Alliance Group, which owns it. It is currently awaiting decision.

Mr Lavin said: “We are preparing to demolish 55 Portland Street under a prior consent approval.  This is in advance of a full planning consent which is currently running and should be determined in June.

“We are replacing the current dated office building with a new 16 storey 4* hotel for the Irish Hotel chain Dalata (which will trade under their Clayton brand). The demolition should be completed later this year with the new hotel opening around Easter 2020.”

Back in 2016 the Property Alliance Group had obtained a planning permission to renovate the 1960s block to create 110,000 sq ft of office space, alongside 6,200 sq ft of retail space, featuring a hotel and a casino. However, rather than revamping the old building, the firm has decided to demolish 55 Portland Street and replace it with a new 17-storey hotel and casino.

The latest planning application submitted to allow the new scheme to go ahead is available here.

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