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Manchester warehouse set for massive refurbishment

Few cities in Britain have undergone as much transformation in recent years as Manchester, particularly in the city centre. An area that had just a few hundred inhabitants as recently as the 1990s is now home to tens of thousands, with a plethora of apartment blocks and a whole string of massive residential skyscrapers in the pipeline.

However, building from scratch has not been the only option. The decline of the city from a traditional industrial powerhouse in a post-industrial age has left numerous old mills and warehouses, huge red brick buildings dating from the 19th century. Many of these are listed, meaning that pulling them down and building afresh is often not an option.

All this has created opportunities for renovation specialists, who can transform the shells of empty buildings by adding in all the mod cons, with well-insulated apartments, modern plumbing and an attractive living space, while keeping aspects that show off the enduring character of the buildings. 

The latest case of this happening is the Talbot Mill in the Castlefield area of the city. Dating from 1855 and a Grade II listed building, the structure is the last empty warehouse and factory in the Castlefield area in the western fringe of the city centre. 

Where once a busy workforce produced and stockpiled textiles that would be taken away down the various canals that pass through Castlefield, the building has been empty and derelict in recent years. However, developer Capital and Centric will be bringing their specialist skills to bear in a £50 million project announced this week to transform the six-storey building and its courtyard, with 200 new flats and a communal garden. Some of the flats will be in a new building on the adjacent Worsley Street.

Co-founder of Capital and Centric Tim Healey said of the project: "Talbot is a stunning example of Manchester’s industrial heritage - something the city is quite rightly proud of. Our plans build on the structure’s inherent beauty and create a neighbourhood centred on a shared courtyard garden.

"The essence of a building is in its original features. Our first priority with all our projects is to keep what we can. It’s an essential part of honouring the stories of the thousands of people who have passed through Talbot’s doors across the decades.

"We’ve worked with talented designers to make sure the new and old sit well together."

Insulation and shower waterproofing fitters contracted to Capital and Centric and other renovation firms will have plenty of work on their hands in Manchester. Among the very busy areas are other canalside districts such as Piccadilly Basin, which is now full of apartments, and Ancoats, where old mills and warehouses have been put to a range of commercial and residential purposes. These are often juxtaposed with new apartment buildings. 

Capital and Centric has been very active in this area, recently turning Crusader Mill near Piccadilly Station into 201 flats. 

It is also involved in the Kampus project on the other side of the station, between Canal Street and Whitworth Street.

Planning permission has been granted to renovate the derelict Minto & Turner and Minshull House buildings by turning them into mixed-use developments including 59 loft apartments and 14,000 sq ft of commercial space.

Henry Boot developments is the other firm involved in the Kampus scheme, which will also include the re-use of the Aytoun building, a former teaching block owned by Manchester Metropolitan University.