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Bold Conversion of Manchester’s Glittering Historic Fire Station

London Road Police and Fire Station in Manchester sits right across the road from Manchester's Piccadilly Station for all to see. Developers, Allied London, have recently gained consent for its conversion and re-use with a mix of uses. The magnificent Neo-Baroque Grade II* listed building dating from 1906 is proposed to be converted to hotel, live/work units, a cinema, bar and restaurant use - an exciting next step in its history.

Historic England has been advising on the current scheme since the summer of 2016. With a number of critical repair issues to resolve, while also integrating a new use, the process has been both challenging and rewarding.

We really welcome this development, which would bring back into use one of the most significant and recognised buildings within the city. The scheme creates a new destination for visitors and locals to enjoy this exceptional historic building - a showpiece of civic pride and, at the time, truly innovative in its combining of fire, police and ambulance station together with a coroner's court all under one roof.

David James, Inspector of Historic Buildings and Areas

Overcoming design challenges

One of the many challenges has been to create hotel rooms while retaining the distinctive internal layout of the building, which contained apartments for firemen and their families. We have encouraged the retention of these distinctive interior spaces as the key to creating a unique hotel environment.

We also worked closely with the design team and Council in protecting the memorable skyline of turrets, towers and cupolas while accepting more significant change within the internal courtyard. The striking new sculptural glass entrance structure will provide a contemporary focus for a rejuvenated courtyard space and subterranean bar.

Vacant for many years, we have worked closely with the developers and their architects Levitt Bernstein to help them realise a viable new use.

A visualization of the proposed London Road Fire Station at night
A visualization of the proposed London Road Fire Station at night © Allied London

We can now start a careful and considered process to create something quite special for our project. We have already secured the anchor hotel and have no doubt about the brand credentials of Zetter Townhouse will suit the building. We have launched our residential and workspace units as furnished rentals and have announced the unique music film and event club, House Of London Road, all in a design partnership with Wallpaper* Magazine. Now we have a detailed planning consent we can engage in detail with hospitality and leisure operators and we have one or two discussions are at the detailed stage. Allied London have a proven track record for delivering sustainable re-use projects particularly in London with the Brunswick Centre as well as Old Granada Studios at St. John's. We will ensure there is something for everyone, and for all those people who have such interest and history with the building, you will be always welcome.

Mike Ingall, CEO of Allied London

We hope our constructive approach to this exuberant and much-loved city landmark will help to place it at the beating heart of the area's regeneration, which is expected to see the arrival of High Speed Rail 2 in 2033.

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