Thursday 21st July 2016

Work is about to begin on the final phase of the transformation of Manchester’s historic Corn Exchange.

Phase 1 which launched August 2015, saw the original trading floor re-imagined as a new dining destination with 17 new and retained restaurants operating under the glazed domes and on all three faces of the distinctive building.

Phase 2 will bring a new 114 bedroomed aparthotel on the upper floors and the restoration and re-opening of the original grand main entrance fronting to Hanging Ditch/ Exchange Square. The new Aparthotel is the final piece of the jigsaw for Owners Aviva and their developer Queensberry’s vision for the £30m project, re-purposing the stunning Grade II listed building, securing its future role in the commercial heart of the city.

Andrew Coles, from owners Aviva said;

Manchester Corn Exchange has a rich commercial heritage and the new Corn Exchange has re-captured this vision - destination focused on great restaurants and a fantastic leisure offer. “The whole ethos of the planned refurbishment and development from Aviva was to enhance the buildings unique character, soul and integrity and future proof its standing as a key city landmark.”

The entire project has been designed by 5plus Architects and the highly anticipated aparthotel will be operated by Roomzzz.

5plus Associate Director, Rhys Westacott, said:

Corn Exchange is a very complex building – there are seven (five) different levels and 13 separate staircases – and the challenge has been to make best use of the space while preserving its unique character.”

Most recently used as offices the strip out of the upper floors revealed fireplaces in rooms from an earlier 40-bed hotel – Exchange Hotel - that once occupied the Cathedral corner of the building with a separate entrance from the corner of  Cathedral Street and Fennel Street.

Rhys said:

There were no building drawings or detailed plans so we discovered unexpected elements and nooks and crannies as the strip out went along and had to keep measuring and re-evaluating and re-drawing.
There are no standard elements to the layout which allowed us to tailor the rooms to the building and create something unique. Special spaces including three large penthouse rooms, one of which will have access to the building’s distinctive turret that will be glazed and accessed by a spiral staircase."

Entered via the original porticoed steps on Hanging Ditch or from the reinstated trading floor the existing tiled lobby with its grand staircase will provide the reception for the hotel.

The hotel rooms occupy the 2nd, 3rd 4th and 5th floors of the building and the hotel has an atrium presence into Corn Exchange.

Some of the works, including installing a new lift shift, were carried out during the first phase of redevelopment so no businesses would be interrupted when phase 2 construction begins.

Rhys said:

It has been very rewarding working with a developer and an operator who have allowed the building’s character to shine through and to see it brought back to life, fit for purpose to maintain an important role in city life.”

Jon Munce, Development Director and Co-founder, from development manager Queensberry added:

Our number one priority for the Corn Exchange has always been to deliver a development that is sympathetic to the building’s many period features. Of course, this made the project complex and we had to utilise our previous experience working with heritage sites to maximise these. The Aparthotel is the last element of this project and we are confident its arrival will further cement the Corn Exchange’s fast growing reputation as a leading leisure and restaurant hub in the North of England.”

Mark Walton, Chief Operating Officer of Roomzzz, added:

We’re delighted to be opening our second hotel in Manchester, building on the success of our current property, Roomzzz Manchester City. Roomzzz Corn Exchange Manchester’s period features and beautiful bare brick walls will be merged with our ‘New Generation’ concept, which features bold bespoke interior designs. The resulting variety of rooms will range from ultra-sleek 21 sqm apartments to super luxury palatial penthouses.
The new hotel is part of our ongoing expansion, with three additional sites planned for Liverpool, London Stratford and York.”