A major fire has damaged the historic headquarters of the former Co-operative Wholesale Society.
The top floor of Hanover Building, which is vacant and being renovated, was being tackled by over 50 firefighters using six pumps from various points around the Manchester ‘co-op quarter’. Eight fire engines were on the scene with a high platform is pumping water onto the blaze.
The Grade II listed building, situated on Corporation Street, was ablaze on the Balloon Street side, which is adjacent to the Co-operative Bank’s head office. There were no injuries, and the fire service has said the building’s structure is unaffected.
Firefighters were called to the incident at 5.25pm on Tuesday and were tackling the fire from Hanover Street, which contains the head offices of Co-operatives UK, Co-operative College, the Association of British Credit Unions and Co-operative News in Holyoake House. Other nearby buildings, which were formerly occupied by the Co-operative Group, include Old Bank and Dantzic.
Manchester Fire and Rescue said on Twitter: “Crew[s] are in attendance at a fire in Manchester city centre, commuters please expect delays. Firefighters trying to prevent the fire spreading.”
Nearby roads were closed by the police and public transport links (trams and buses) were affected.
The part of the building where the fire was most prominent is E Block, which was formerly the drapery department of the CWS that now forms Hanover Building and was part of the CWS headquarters. CWS later merged with Co-operative Retail Services to form the Co-operative Group,
It was last occupied by the Group, prior to its new head office at Angel Square opening. The building was acquired by the Noma project, owned by the Group and Hermes Real Estate, which is regenerating the 20 acre area as a mixed-use area in the city centre.
Hanover Building was due to be the first building that was finalised following works on and around the site over the past year. The plans for the site include 91,000 sq ft of office space and retail units at street level.
A spokesperson for Noma said on Twitter: “We can confirm the building is vacant and everybody accounted for.”