Windmill takes a bad turn: Why is Manchester’s second greenest building short of interest?

It has been touted as Manchester’s second greenest office space and has so far cost more than £13million to create.

But as Windmill Green gets ready to open its doors in November, just two of its seven floors have been snapped up.

The impressive development, a self-styled “playground, not a prison,” is a green communal office facility, designed with the wellbeing of its occupants in mind.

It offers amongst its range of modern features, a café, a cycle hub and showers, and seeks to create an environment in which innovation can thrive.

However, as of late last week, only one client has signed up for it.

The co-working company, Our Space, has agreed a deal to occupy 13,600 sq. ft. of the total 78,000 sq. ft. available.

With a customer base of freelancers, start-ups and small businesses, Our Space will be located on the ground and first floors.

The strength of the office market in Manchester looks good with experts expecting the sector to continue on its upward curve with demand in the city centre growing year-on-year.

In fact, estate agent Savills, in its Manchester Office Spotlight of September 2017, said: “Overall take-up of office space in Manchester was up 20% year on year in the first half of 2017. We expect this trend to continue through 2018.

“We expect that total office-based employment in Manchester will grow by 4.7% over the next five years.”

Despite the cheery outlook of 12 months ago, Windmill Green is proving a difficult ‘sell’ for agents.

A senior internal source for the Windmill Green project said: “A number of parties engaged with us during construction, but it’s too early to say we have strong interest.”

This perspective has been corroborated by a second internal source.

Formerly known as London Scottish House, it is reported the previous owner, Titan Investors, sold the building to FORE Partnership for £13million.

It had been vacant for a number of years prior to the sale.

Mancunian Matters has asked the developers to confirm the overall costs of the project but received no answer.

It is suggested to be the second greenest building in Manchester with a host of features to offset damage to the environment.

One Angel Square (also known as the Co-op Building) is the city’s most environmentally-friendly building.

Windmill Green’s credentials include a solar power system on the roof, LED lighting on the ceilings, and an anticipated ‘outstanding’ BREEAM (sustainability) rating.

It also boasts a green wall of between 3000 to 4000 plants in the reception area, and beehives on the rooftop garden.

The building has been ‘recycled’, having had its original façade stripped and replaced, while the infrastructure remains in place.

Two additional floors have been added along with environmentally friendly installations.

The near-complete building represents a positive transformation of its tired and dated predecessor.

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