ID Manchester unveils plans to transform Renold Building into new innovation hub

Plans to reactivate the Renold Building, in Manchester city centre, have been revealed by the ID Manchester partnership.

An application to convert the building from educational to commercial use has been submitted to Manchester City Council by joint venture partners, The University of Manchester and Bruntwood SciTech. Pending application approval, the building is set to open in late 2024.

This is the initial phase of ID Manchester’s plan to transform The University of Manchester’s former North Campus into a new £1.7bn innovation district.

It envisages the Renold Building as a home for forward-thinking entrepreneurs and SMEs to develop new ideas and solutions that help tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges.

The new vision will celebrate the building’s history as an educational hub by hosting the next wave of science and technology innovators and building an inclusive, purpose-driven community.

It will provide a range of coworking, office and meeting facilities to accommodate and support collaboration between researchers, entrepreneurs, businesses and partner organisations. New events and exhibition spaces, including lecture theatres and a community café, will be accessible to local businesses, community groups and arts and culture organisations to host and participate in events and activities.

Built in 1962, the Renold Building was the first of its kind in the UK to be entirely comprised of lecture theatres and seminar rooms.

The Renold Building lecture theatre

It is a building of note for many due to its striking features, including the faceted facade and stair tower, and the impressive internal mural on the lower ground floor.

The redevelopment will retain and protect these elements as part of the application, as well as being sympathetic to the building’s exterior facades. Design interventions in the building’s interior will also be light touch, preserving the current condition as far as practically possible. This will allow for further conservation and restoration to be undertaken at a later date, ensuring the building will remain viable for future generations.

Bradley Topps, Chief Commercial Officer for Bruntwood SciTech and Project Director for ID Manchester, said: “The transformation of the Renold Building into an innovation hub marks an important first step in the development of the trailblazing science and technology ecosystem we’re building at ID Manchester.

“We recognise the importance of the Renold Building to many in the local community and beyond, and we are committed to reactivating the building in a way that celebrates the rich heritage and architecture of the building. We’re very excited to be creating a new home for the next generation of Manchester innovators.”

John Holden, Associate Vice-President, The University of Manchester and Executive Committee Member for ID Manchester, said: ”The Renold Building will be an invaluable place to bring together like minded organisations and partners to collaborate, develop and test new ideas.

“We’re building our innovation ecosystem from the ground up and the Renold Building will be a place that not only accelerates the growth of our city’s most promising entrepreneurs, SMEs and university spin-outs, but also provides the spaces and opportunities to allow our local communities to participate, experience and benefit from innovation, too.”

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