Department at Bonded Warehouse – one of Manchester’s hidden gems

Andrew Crabtree | 13 October 2020

Andrew Crabtree, who recently joined OBI’s Transactional & Asset Management Team, provides an insight into one of Manchester’s hidden gems and most impressive managed workspace operators; Department at Bonded Warehouse.

On first visiting Bonded Warehouse you really appreciate and take note of the building’s impressive level of detail, and the thought process involved in revitalising a former customs warehouse where alcohol and cigarettes were once stored to deliver Manchester’s most innovate workspace for today’s and tomorrow’s pioneering businesses.

Department have repositioned Manchester’s most iconic former warehouses to deliver an exciting enterprise hub for thriving start-up’s and scaling businesses through to large established occupiers. Bonded Warehouse is situated within Enterprise City, St John’s, which is Manchester’s newest tech and innovation neighbourhood in the city. Originally built in the 1800’s, the iconic Warehouse has been carefully restored to deliver six levels of co-working, private workspaces, café, bar, club lounge, meeting spaces, content studios, recording studios, wellness areas and event spaces.

You enter Bonded Warehouse on the 3rd floor via the building’s majestic wooden doors and you are welcomed by Department’s on-site team; one of Manchester’s most forward-thinking managed workspace operators. Their proactive approach helps cultivate your business and the new community within the building providing regular networking, thought leadership events, and wellness activities.

Businesses who make home here will be part of the pioneering eco-system of 65+ like-minded businesses of all sizes, such as Klarna, Reform Radio and Jimbag, in an environment that is unique to Manchester; you could be in New York, Amsterdam, or Berlin.

The building’s restoration has retained and enhanced the building’s industrial heritage while delivering a welcomed solution to the traditional ‘rigid’ workplaces and offers work and social destinations. Level 3 is the building’s heartbeat with an impressive entrance, brick vaulted ceilings, and double height space. Stylish furnishing, high quality and well-designed internal space, creating a vibrant atmosphere that would appeal to the creatives and tech cluster. Department’s range of memberships, from membership desks or private studios with access to large communal breakout spaces and The Hub, provides opportunities for your businesses to share, innovate, collaborate, socialise, and develop.

As your businesses begins to grow, the upper floors of Bonded Warehouse provide for much larger workspaces that supports a business’s growth ambitions. There are already examples within the building of businesses which have thrived such as Auden; a fast growing fintech business that have grown from 16-person private workspace to a full floor of 15,500 sq ft delivered by Department as a ‘turnkey’ solution. The Auden space is in the eaves of the warehouse and is the most impressive space in the building. Auden now employ over 120 people.

Level 2 is occupied by The Exchange, an exciting joint partnership between Department and Tech Nation, which is a subsidised incubation and acceleration space for Tech start-ups. The Exchange is already a cohort for 23 e-commerce, proptech, and medtech businesses helping them to grow and develop through structured support programmes providing the essential tools for their business to

succeed. Level 2 also offers rentable meeting rooms and is home to the exclusive Clubhouse. The Clubhouse is a fully catered boutique offering for Bonded Warehouse members who can find the perfect split from work to network, socialise, and host events.

For businesses who are looking to further their creativity, there is access to podcast rooms, studio space, and editing studios, on Level 1 of Bonded Warehouse. On Level 1 you will also find the Halcyon Cocktail Bar and Gin Distillery, which offers a place for occupiers to relax after work as well as hosting events such as cocktail masterclasses.

The Stables, adjoining Bonded Warehouse, provides an escape for those seeking a wellness experience offering with on-site gym and sauna. The first floor of the Stables will offer casual pub dining, live entertainment, DJs and live sports; all of which amplifies Bonded Warehouse’s large inventory.

All in all, the restoration of Bonded Warehouse has created an infrastructure and ecosystem for modern business to thrive; it is like a mini Enterprise City in one building. This clustering of like-minded business has created a place for business to grow and help them attract and retain talent by providing access to high quality leisure, social, fitness and wellbeing space.

Over recent months homeworking has become a forced environment for a large number of businesses; however, the novelty of home working has started to wear thin as employees start to feel isolated. There are also businesses who are still trying to understand how their workspace will look in the future but in these times Bonded Warehouse and the Department’s forward thinking team have continued to attract new occupiers due to the unique workspace that is focused around health, social, wellbeing, flexibility and different types of working. Occupiers are clearly valuing this offering as it creates the perfect workspace solution for a new generation of businesses.

OBI have worked closely with Department to project manage the refurbishment of Bonded Warehouse to deliver 90,000 sq ft of stunning spaces. We have worked with a number of occupiers at Bonded Warehouse advising on the acquisition of their workspace, as well as the project management

and the interior design of their fit out, including Auden who occupy 15,500 sq ft workspace on the impressive top floor.

In addition to Auden, OBI have successfully worked with other occupiers including, InterQuest, Cra-Z-Art, and Rugby World Cup on their successful relocations to Bonded Warehouse.

Department will soon further it’s coverage from Bonded Warehouse (Enterprise City) and XYZ (Spinningfields), to ABC Buildings and London Road Fire Station.

If you are looking for creative unique workspace in the heart of Enterprise City, please get in touch with OBI.

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