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Waitrose set for Spinningfields

Upmarket food retailer is anchor tenant in refurbished Manchester House

Published on July 26th 2010.

Waitrose set for Spinningfields

Food retailer Waitrose will move into Spinningfields in Manchester city centre, as anchor tenant at Allied London’s Manchester House.

The site's location as a gateway to Spinningfields calls for a design solution that allows it to act as an effective linkage to the remainder of the city centre.

The firm will take the ground floor retail unit fronting onto Bridge Street as the building undergoes a refurbishment, designed by the Manchester office of Sheppard Robson.

Part of the ground floor was also used by Indian restaurant Shimla Pinks before the business went into administration earlier this year. The offices also held the Arts Council headquarters in Manchester for a while.

In a design report prepared by Drivers Jonas Deloitte to accompany the planning application to Manchester City Council, Allied London said the building, which has been largely vacant since 2008, has been “underperforming as an asset and as a building for a considerable period of time.”

Manchester House will connect Spinningfields to the rest of the city once refurbished, it said. One floor of the building will be revamped for retail with the other ten floors improved for use as office space.

The report said: “The site's location as a gateway to Spinningfields calls for a design solution that allows it to act as an effective linkage to the remainder of the city centre. The proposals would bring back into use a building which has suffered from a lack of investment and help regenerate an underdeveloped part of the wider Spinningfields regeneration area.”

Waitrose already has a food concession in the Boots store on Cross Street, but this will be its first standalone store in Manchester city centre. It will provide competition for the Co-op stores more than the other medium sized supermarkets in town such as Tesco Metro and will hope its reputation for good quality own brand and bought in foods will tip the scales in its favour.

Certainly it should do a roaring trade to apartment dwellers down the west side of the city, along the River Irwell, in Spinningfields and over the river in Salford.

Manchester House was originally Scottish Life House and was built in 1965 by Manchester architects Leach, Rhodes and Walker.

Occasional Confidential writer Phil Griffin recalled its construction on the CUBE website: ‘Manchester House, just up the road from (the Leach, Rhodes and Walker) office, is an eight-storey cube over a two-storey podium. They erected the steel frame and then cast the floor slabs on-site, and stacked them one on top of the other on the ground, like so many slices of toast. When they were all done, each of them was then craned into place, one after the other, on the same day.’

So Manchester House is stacked like toast, or rare French cheeses, to have a better Waitrose analogy. How appropriate.

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25 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Leigh ScottJuly 26th 2010.

I'm sorry but i just dont like anything about Spinningfields.

It reminds me of Manchester City Football club,Lots of investment for little return.

There are so many places of character in manchester that could have done with this type of investment but drawing in the plastic fantastic types wins yet again!

DaveJuly 26th 2010.

Any investment for Manchester is good news as far as I'm concerned. Some owners invest for growth, others just suck their investments dry.

D KesslerJuly 26th 2010.

At last. My food mile trips to Altrincham are history!

NortherngeezerJuly 26th 2010.

Hey Ed.............Aint Booths opening oop a branch in Salford Quays next year, why havnt you done a review on it yet, hehehe;-)

Graig HJuly 27th 2010.

Scoteee we do need modern places in town and Spinningfields does do many things well. The Screenfields is good, the deckchairs a real asset in sunny weather and the new Tim Bacon bars and restaurants outlined on here a while ago will help create a less Pret-a-manger atmosphere. It seems a little narrow minded to condemn a place which is proving popular and valuable for the city centre.

Leigh ScottJuly 27th 2010.

Craig we are being told it's fantastic and that it's popoular but in reality, well it's not it's being forced down our throats and i just don't buy it.The Pret-a-manger atmosphere you describe is and always has been there due to the layout and structure of the place. it's cold and empty reminds me of canary wharf to a degree in london all the chains went there too but the place still has that same sterile feel.

German PutzfrauJuly 27th 2010.

Remember what Spinningfields was like before the redevelopment? Tidying up Britain isn't such a bad thing!

imancJuly 27th 2010.

Yeah Scoteee, go move to Gorton, watch Shameless on a loop and live with drug dealers and dog poo poo on the streets...

Daniel WildJuly 27th 2010.

I've only ever been to Screenfields, and the Christmas bar / ice skating when they were on, and they both seemed really popular. I'd prefer that to the goth/emo filled Cathedral Gardens, or scally infested Piccadilly Gardens...

Michael WayneJuly 27th 2010.

About time we had Waitrose city centre. And what beter place than Spinninfields. Totaly disagree with 'scotee'.
I lived in central London all my life and then moved to Canary Wharf when Canada Tower was just being completed. I watched the growth of the influx of stores and shops and felt a real part of it. To the point that it had everything you would need. One of the best thing about it was that it was clean. "Sterile" it wasn't. Just look at that pedestrian precinct that runs from M&S to Debenhams. What a dump.The city burghers should be ashamed.
I live in Spinningfields and love it. Waitrose didn't make their decision without a lot of careful consideration. I feel 'scoteee' has the right to comment and I fundamentally respect this human right. I would suggest that 'scotteee' stay in the parts of the city that he/she feels comfortable in. The rest of us can enjoy the clean and secure environment and a new Waitrose to boot.

Eddy RheadJuly 28th 2010.

I expect a very vocal campaign - perhaps headed by Pat Carney and the Keep Spinningfields Interesting Campaign - to stop the relentless spread of the now-almost-ubiquitous-Waitrose.
Sign a petition here - hypocrites@liberalmiddleclassangst.com

ReaJuly 28th 2010.

No I say let's have a petition to have more of them Eddy,sign invertedsnob@don'tlikegoodthings.com

Ali McGowanJuly 28th 2010.

I wonder how many of those that do not like WR have actually shopped there. I've nothing against free speech, but Eddy, what's your beef with Waitrose exactly? Or are you merely mentioning that it might receive some opposition? As a former employee of Waitrose, I am 100% behind this opening. I can vouch for the quality of the product and the quality of the service. Both are second to none - and the company is owned by the people that work there, so they all have a vested interest in making a difference and delivering everything, well, better. I can assure anyone on here, that if there is a 'No' campaign against Waitrose, I'll be at the front of the queue spearheading a 'Yes' to WR campaign. This is the best news on a new city centre store opening for some time. Can't wait!

Ali McGowanJuly 28th 2010.

PS: I'm with you, Rea :)

Christopher BryanJuly 28th 2010.


I'm glad you're finally on board with the Booths coming to Salford Quays campaign...

NortherngeezerJuly 28th 2010.

CB - Having spent the weekend in the lakes, and visited said emporium in Kendal, i am now sat sitting 'ere at work munching on a large portion of turkey pie, wenslydale cheese, garlic and walnut bread, and a dollop of chutternee. Best pluffmans i've ever had. If they doo open in the quays, i hope they have the fancy deli bit too...........Ed - U need to doo an article on this, but only if it opens next year lyke;-)

NortherngeezerJuly 28th 2010.

PS - Dont take any piccys tho, yer'll put people orf visiting.

John HarrisJuly 28th 2010.

When it first started out I thought that Spinningfields was doomed to be a cultural and domestic desert, but it is slowly coming together as a decent place.

I'm not sure this location will do particularly well for Waitrose though - are there really enough people living in Spinningfields to make it pay? Otherwise I think they're going to be dependent on passing trade from people who commute by train to Salford Central.

Best of luck to them anyway, it's good to see a store opening that isn't Tesco or Sainsburys.

PS - loving the petitions :) Can I sign both?

Daniel WildJuly 28th 2010.

I can't afford to shop at Waitrose anyway. Is there a lidl opening anywhere soon?

Smyth HarperJuly 28th 2010.

Ali, I don't think that Eddy was making a comment on Waitrose, but rather about those people who bemoan chain supermarkets opening everywhere, destroying local traders blah blah, who will probably not complain about Waitrose opening, despite it being a chain supermarket - except one with prettier packaging. He makes a fair, mildly satirical point.

JackJuly 29th 2010.

Eddy - never mind a "keep Spinningfields interesting" campaign, how about a make Spinningfields interesting campaign - Manchester House adds a rare bit of historical texture to the area - lets hope they don't tart it up out of recognition a la Hateway House.

JackJuly 29th 2010.

Oops, did I say Hateway -I meant Gateway of course.

Eddy RheadJuly 29th 2010.

@ Smitty Mildly satirical? This is top class razor sharp stuff i'll have you know . @Jack Love in - Hate out

AnonymousJuly 29th 2010.

Spinningfields is a little lacking in character but its certainly a clean and well managed area - a standard for the rest of the City Centre to strive towards.

markymarcAugust 18th 2010.

I think the transformation of Spinningfields is a great asset to the City. Once all of the stores planned are open it will become a great destination. Where else can you go for lunch sit on a deckchair either watch some sport on tv etc and clear your head for an hour. I feel we have yet to benifit from the regeneration of this area.What was this area like before?? I agree that the walk from M&S to Debenhams buildings needs a revamp. I am so happy that waitrose is opening who would not be, especially with the quality of the food products they serve, should give Tesco and Sainsbury a run for the money.I also feel that Spinningfields is well managed and a safe place to be any time of the day or night.

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