THE Co-operative Group has announced its intention to build a new headquarters in the city or in the wider Greater Manchester conurbation, with the stated aim of helping to facilitate a multi-million pound regeneration of the city's northern gateway.
The Group is looking at a range of options, including building on its own landholdings in the current Co-op complex or relocating elsewhere in the city or Greater Manchester.
The move is not expected to take place for at least two years. In the meantime the Group plans to work with Manchester City Council on a regeneration master plan for the existing site.
The Group's decision has been taken in the face of rising maintenance costs for its existing dated office complex fronting Corporation Street. This includes the 13-storey New Century House office block. These costs are expected to add up to over £ 100 million within the next 10 years.
As a result of relocation, the Group expects to generate annual savings of at least £ 10m as well as realising the development value of the 20-acre site as part of the regeneration of the area.
No decision has yet been taken over the future occupation requirements of the Group's financial services businesses, Co-operative Financial Services (CFS), headquartered in Balloon Street and Miller Street. This continues to be reviewed against business needs. However, CFS has also pledged to retain its headquarters in Greater Manchester.
Lynda Shillaw, Director of Property for the Group, explained: "As a successful, expanding business, we want to ensure our employees have a modern workplace with up-to-date facilities. This is simply out of reach at our present premises which are tired and in need of major investment. When balanced against the commercial benefits to be gained by relocation and redevelopment of this site such investment just does not add up.
"The Co-operative landholdings have great potential to boost the city's commercial vitality and its ability to generate employment – a master plan for the entire site will enable this potential to be fully achieved," she added.