New Vision Revealed for Transformation of Historic Rylands Building

26 April 2023

New images have been released of the proposed development of Manchester’s former Debenhams store on the corner of Market Street and High Street.

The store closed on May 12, 2021, following the collapse of the retail chain.

German investor, AM alpha, is to convert the iconic Rylands building into a mixed-use development comprising retail, leisure and office space. It acquired the site for £87m in 2017.

Enabling works for the transformation of the Grade II-listed site in central Manchester have already begun, with main works scheduled for this year and completion expected in early 2025.

The complete refurbishment will include fully redeveloping the existing building, converting the upper floors into high quality office space and creating a shopping arcade on the ground floor.

Global real-estate investment family firm AM alpha will also add a four-storey extension to the building, meaning Rylands will boast 10 floors of high quality office space, a shopping arcade and a leisure area, mainly for restaurant businesses, after the refurbishment.

Local construction company Russell WBHO, which specialises in listed and sustainable projects, will act as a construction partner for the project, while local property companies OBI and Barker Proudlove have been appointed as letting agents.

The building is designed to achieve net zero carbon status. After the renovation of the historic building is completed, a certification for sustainable construction according to Breeam Excellent or Nabers 5* is planned.

Stephan Schmid, senior vice president at AM alpha, said: “Working with listed buildings is always a great privilege. We are proud to be able to give this historic Manchester landmark a new future and restore Rylands to its former glory in a very sustainable way.

“In this way, we are also helping to achieve Greater Manchester’s 2038 carbon neutrality target.”

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