THE Co-operative Group has announced that it is to build its new headquarters in Manchester city centre on a site yet to be decided.
The Group, which employs 3000 people in its current headquarters buildings, launched a search last year for new premises within Greater Manchester.
The decision to exit its Corporation Street head office was taken in the face of rising maintenance costs for its existing dated office complex, which includes the New Century House office block, and the need to provide a "first class" working environment for staff.
The move also allows the Group to release the development value of its landholdings in the city and to contribute to the regeneration of the area known as Manchester's Northern Gateway.
Co-op Group Chief Executive Peter Marks said the decision to stay in Manchester city centre had been taken after careful consideration of issues such as transport links, the environment and commercial benefits.
"We are delighted to be retaining our historic links with Manchester which stretch back to our foundation in 1863," he explained. "We are committed to the city which is fast establishing itself as a major European commercial centre."
Mr Marks said that a number of possible sites close to the existing headquarters were under consideration but were currently subject to "commercially sensitive" negotiations. An announcement on the chosen site would follow at the earliest opportunity.
In a separate development, work is underway to produce a masterplan for the Group's 20-acre landholding bordering Corporation Street and Miller Street,which forms an important part of the city's Northern Gateway and the future regeneration of the city. The plan is expected to be finalised later this year.