The city council has entered a legal agreement with developer Allied London for the transformation of the grade two-listed Campfield Market buildings into a tech, media, and creative hub.

Under the agreement, Allied London will repair and refurbish Upper Campfield Market and Lower Campfield Market. Together, the two historic buildings off Liverpool Road will provide 83,000 sq ft of workspace. This includes a minimum of 400 hot desks, event spaces, and meeting rooms.

Allied’s managed workspace platform, All Work & Social, will operate the facility when it completes in the spring of 2024. Work is expected to begin on the renovations later this year.

The Campfield Market buildings make up part of Allied’s £1bn St John’s masterplan. Complementing the buildings will be the nearby Castlefield House, which will be set up to provide additional workspaces for tech and media companies.

Manchester City Council Leader Cllr Bev Craig said:

“Campfield is an exciting initiative which will see these two heritage buildings help play a dynamic part in Manchester’s future, giving innovative businesses an affordable place to flourish and helping to create the jobs of tomorrow,” Craig said.

“Having a location in the heart of the city centre, as part of a cluster of similar businesses, will create an environment where tech, media, and creative entrepreneurs – whether they are starting up or scaling up – can network and share inspiration.

“Manchester has always been a city of innovation and creativity. Campfield will help ensure it continues to be.”

Allied London chief executive Michael Ingall added:

“This project is important, firstly to get two historic buildings back into sustainable use and, secondly, it’s a project to further develop the tech, media, and creative sectors in the heart of Manchester, providing more affordable and supported infrastructure and services whilst establishing interesting public areas in the buildings for the wider community’s benefit.

“We have researched as well as visited several precedent developments such as New Lab, Brooklyn, Station F, Paris,  LocHal, Tilburg, and Palermo, Uruguay,  as part of our consideration for the design and what can be achieved, and are confident of delivering a very impactful project for Manchester.”

Their repair and conversion were part of a successful £19.8m Levelling Up Fund bid by the council in 2021. Of the nearly £20m awarded, £17.5m will go towards the market buildings.

The remaining £2.2m will be dedicated to the conversion of three railway arches between HOME and Whitworth Street West into a creative talent development centre.