The Role of Existing Buildings

| Leanne Forshaw Jones

The role of existing buildings is important as the UK strives to meet climate and net zero carbon goals. Retrofitting old structures can lower the environmental impacts of new buildings – and preserve existing embodied carbon. It’s something many of our Canning O’Neill clients are doing well across the North West region, and here we look at some of our favourites.

Developers and landlords are under continued pressure to create sustainable structures – places in which people can live, work and socialise. New construction techniques mean there are some great examples of new buildings that meet net zero targets, but what about the thousands of buildings already standing in our Northern cities? Surprisingly they are a sustainable option, with a myriad of new interventions and construction techniques that can help bring existing stock back into use.

Intelligent retrofitting will also help landlords meet incoming new EPC regulations (something you can read about in our recent article here). So, here is a look at some of the best refurbishments in the North West – all of which we’re proud to represent as leasing agents.

Eden Point Cheadle, by Bridge Properties

Eden Point is a fully-let 32,000 sq ft building in a highly prominent location on the A34 in Cheadle.

Once the HQ of Bovis Homes, the building was designed to house a 90s-corporate environment, adopting the aesthetic of the surrounding businesses and retail parks.

That look has now been transformed thanks to a full remodelling and refurbishment, where we’ve seen Bridge Properties comprehensively change the look and feel of the space to create a working environment that meets the needs of businesses in 2023 and beyond.

A lot of focus therefore is on the communal areas of the building, which have been redeveloped to encourage interactions – think informal seating areas, landscaped outdoor spaces and Café Eden, the onsite café.

The appeal’s been proven with a constant stream of lettings, including new recent deals with Capelli Sport and Skechers– meaning the new occupier mix ranges from sports and financial to medical and technology.  Find out more about the building here.


South, Cheadle Royal

Another great restoration is South in Cheadle.

The former De Vere Hotel at Cheadle Royal Business Park was left empty, unloved and needed a new vision that would preserve the building and appeal to a new kind of occupier.

That is becoming a reality as restoration of this grand Victorian structure is now well underway.

Future occupiers will have the choice of some great spaces ranging 250 to 5,000 sq ft – each packed with original features mixed with a contemporary twist! There’ll also be communal areas, a lounge, concierge service, luxury changing facilities and high-quality meeting rooms.

The restoration works will complete early summer this year. Find out more here. 


5 Richmond Street Manchester, by Urban Splash

Lovingly restored structures dominate the Urban Splash commercial portfolio, with the company tackling a range of architecture to bring empty buildings back into use.

One recent example is at Richmond Street in Manchester’s Gay Village, where Urban Splash has restored three floors of space to create modern offices. Working with R2 Architecture, Urban Splash embraced the building’s original features including a carved doorway – a nod to textile entrepreneur Michael Nairn & Co as a tribute to the company’s Scottish heritage. There’s also the Stuart Scottish royal family’s coat of arms

Those features sit alongside modern features including vibrant pops of colour – something that’s attracted new tenants including Leith. Just one floor remains on the market and you can find out more about it here.