City centre development on track as first floors are complete

Proposed Booking.com headquarters

Manchester Goods Yard, part of Enterprise City, the tech, media and cultural cluster in the heart of Manchester city centre, has avoided development delays due to clever planning by Allied London.

The 400,000 sq ft building, which will host 3,000 Booking.com employees, is less than a year from completion, and now has 200 people on-site, with construction in full swing and back to that of pre-COVID levels.

Development of Manchester Goods Yard has been able to keep to its tight schedule of works, as building was safeguarded following a decision to assemble the structural concrete columns, concrete and glazed façade, and the mechanical and electrical distribution, off-site, as constructors prepared for the prospect of a no-deal Brexit.

Innovative development techniques have resulted in construction progressing in Lincolnshire, during stringent social distancing measures at the height of the COVID lockdown.

The concrete and glazing façade panels are manufactured and assembled to provide a unitised module that can be lifted and fixed into position to reduce the amount of time required to traditionally enclose the building.

This safeguarded material supplies and overlap on-site and off-site activities, therefore reducing the overall construction period.

The building’s New York warehouse-inspired façade is set to be delivered and installed in the coming months, marking another milestone in the construction of Booking.com’s new global headquarters.

The basement and ground floor at the e-commerce giant’s commercial hub are now complete, with further trades on-site to complete the fit-out, ready for retail and hospitality operators to plan moving in, following the relaxing of social distancing.

The Manchester Goods Yard development currently has 200 workers on-site, with construction currently at the sixth floor and fourth floor of the three interconnected buildings, ahead of topping out on the 10th floor in late Summer, with workers from across the UK and Europe returning to site.

The site has also welcomed other trades as development gathers pace, with brickwork, mechanical and electrical systems, and sprinklers all currently being installed.

Michael Ingall, founder and chief executive of Allied London, said: “Enterprise City is the most exciting development in the city, and will attract hundreds of businesses to base their headquarters, creating huge economic impact for the North West.

“It’s important that we continue development in line with government guidelines where possible, and help the country get back on its feet.

“Careful planning and the ability to make the façade and other elements of the building off-site has allowed us to keep to our construction timeline, but has also prepared us for the unforeseen impact of the pandemic.

“What started as contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit, and us storing 80% of the materials in the UK so they were not held up at the border or tied up in customs, has allowed us to increase the speed of construction as many others fall behind.”

Manchester Goods Yard contains 40,000 sq ft of leisure and retail space, which will be known as The Goods Yard, serving the surrounding buildings, and the soon-to-be-completed Factory, a new arts and cultural venue at the centre of Enterprise City.

Mr Ingall said: “The Goods Yard will be a unique variable workday and weekend offering – during the week, retail space will be contained within the building, and mainly serve a workday population, but at the weekend we will really turn the volume up, to create a weekend destination.

“Some time ago we trialled The Weekender, a collaborative retail, food, drink, cultural and family activity destination in the former Workshop.

“It worked really well, and we plan to bring it back every weekend.

“As of next year, we will be working with various local operating partners to include food, drink and craft markets, and music, film, events and family activities for everyone to enjoy.”

He added: “Creating an attractive development is just the first part of what we are doing at Enterprise City, part of our placemaking also involves welcoming a new generation of tech, digital and media workers to the district.

“Plans for The Weekender will allow us to strike the perfect balance of work life and social activity as business happens in these spaces as much as it does in the workplace.

“Creating a destination and a new home of modern working in the heart of the city requires more than just good development, it requires offering all the amenities and comforts a professional could want in one easy to access location.”

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