Plans approved to transform historic Grade II-listed Manchester building into £6m ‘innovation hub’

Developers want to make it a "vibrant social community" for all.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 17th June 2024

Plans to turn a Grade II-listed building in Manchester city centre into a £6 million “innovation hub” have been given the green light.

Manchester City Council has approved “transformational plans” for the historic 117-119 Portland Street building in the heart of the city centre, and the ambitious £6 million project will now see the Grade II-listed building become the so-called “gateway” into Manchester’s innovation district, the Oxford Road Corridor.

Part of Bruntwood SciTech’s collection of refurbished Victorian warehouses, this new workspace is expected to be a “central hub” for collaboration, wellness, and events.

Developers want to make it a “vibrant social community” for all the businesses within the building.

The 35,000 sq ft building will be refurbished into a multi-let workspace that provides a mixture of offices for up to 80 people – with each offering a range of flexible options for companies working in the creative, tech, and media sectors.


Nine fully-fitted workspaces will be created in total, each being equipped with kitchens, meeting rooms, and breakout areas.

The innovation hub will retain many of its original features that pay homage to its rich history.


Dating all the way back to 1886, the building was formerly home to Schill Seebohm & Co shipping merchants, which used it as a warehouse to showcase, sell, and ship its Manchester-made textiles, and now it’s set to become another inspiring space for businesses to grow and thrive.

Plans have been approved to transform a historic Manchester building into £6m ‘innovation hub’ / Credit: Bruntwood SciTech

State-of-the-art shared facilities and amenities will also be incorporated into the new-look building as part of a “reimagining” of the ground and lower ground floors areas – including breakout spaces and lounge areas, an on-site gym, boutique gym-quality shower and changing facilities, and an auditorium for events.

Developers will also be improving the historic building’s sustainability credentials in a bid to bring it into the “modern age”.


Richard Roper, who is the Associate Director and Asset Management for Bruntwood SciTech, said the approval of these plans marks the next “exciting phase” in the partnership’s vision to “enhance and improve” workspaces across Manchester city centre.

“Our cluster of buildings on Portland Street are uniquely positioned to become the connecting junction between the Oxford Road Corridor and our city centre innovation hubs, further supporting businesses to access a city-wide innovation ecosystem,” he added.

“This cornerstone of the city has been lacking investment into creating workspaces that galvanise collaboration, creativity, and ingenuity, and offer like-minded communities to connect with.

“We hope to deliver that at 117 Portland Street.”

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Work to transform 117-119 Portland Street is anticipated to get underway from spring 2025.

Featured Image – Bruntwood SciTech