Swinton Insurance has signed a lease agreement for all 165,000 sq ft of Grade A office space at 101 Embankment in what is the largest property letting deal in Manchester City Centre in recent years.
The investment in Embankment enables Swinton to bring its head office and customer-facing teams into the same location for the first time. More than 1,000 employees will relocate to Embankment from existing city centre sites on Whitworth Street and Great Marlborough Street.
Embankment is a two-phased Grade A office development which is being delivered by Ask Real Estate in a joint venture with Carillion plc and Tristan Capital Partners, and in partnership with Salford City Council and Network Rail. Planning consent for the second phase of the scheme, 100 Embankment, was granted in July.
On behalf of the joint venture managing director of Ask Real Estate John Hughes said: “This is a great coup both for Embankment and for the cities of Salford and Manchester and we are delighted that Swinton has chosen Embankment as its future base in this location of the city.”
Swinton’s Facilities Manager, Justine Thompson, working closely with Rupert Barron at WHR Property Consultants, stated that “101 Embankment was chosen because of its high specification and prominent position together with unrivalled amenity and connectivity on its doorstep. This is a key consideration when employing so many people in one location.”
Embankment is located on the Salford bank of the River Irwell at the point at which the two cities meet. The site has easy access to a wide network of public transport options in Victoria Station and Exchange Square Metrolink and is just a few minutes’ walk from the heart of the retail core, including the newly opened Corn Exchange Leisure scheme. It also sits on the former site of Manchester’s historic Exchange Station in an impressive setting overlooking the city’s Cathedral.
Swinton Insurance is the UK’s largest high street insurance broker and is one of the City’s best-known institutions. It has had its roots in Salford since it was formed almost 60 years ago.
Gilles Normand, Chief Executive of Swinton Insurance, said: “The new location is a symbol of our commitment to the North West and demonstrates our intention to remain close to our roots and invest in our local community as we approach our 60th anniversary in 2017”.
“Bringing all of our support team and Manchester contact centre colleagues together under one roof will allow for much greater flexibility to deliver great customer service. The move to a new site is a milestone in our drive towards a bold and modern Swinton by re-shaping the way that we work.
“It’s about building a sustainable, multi-channel business model that makes things easier for our customers and delivers excellent service, whether they choose to interact with us face to face in branches, over the phone or online.”
Paul Dennett, City Mayor of Salford, said: “Swinton’s move to Embankment is a major step forward in the regeneration of the Greengate area and brings a major local employer into the heart of Salford, where the company was founded almost 60 years ago. It is fantastic to see a business with such a strong local heritage reaffirm its commitment to the community with the type of investment that will help Salford continue to thrive.”
A 442-space Q-Park car park will lie underneath the two Embankment office buildings, and will be operational shortly after.
MIDAS, Manchester’s inward investment agency have worked closely with all parties to support the development. WHR Property Consultants advised Swinton and CBRE and Cushman & Wakefield advised the Embankment consortium.
Swinton acknowledged that the support of Salford City Council and MIDAS was a key factor in finalising their decision, particularly as the business first started trading in the town of Swinton, which forms part of the Salford area.