The ID Manchester partnership to reactivate the Renold Building as Innovation Hub

The partnership, a joint venture between Bruntwood SciTech and The University of Manchester, has revealed plans to reactivate the striking building as a focal point for science, technology, and innovation-related activities

The ID Manchester partnership has announced plans to reactivate the Renold Building as a home for forward-thinking entrepreneurs and SMEs to develop new ideas and solutions that help tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. This marks the initial phase of ID Manchester’s ambitious plan to transform The University of Manchester’s former North Campus into a welcoming and accessible new £1.7bn innovation district.  

The new vision for the Renold Building will celebrate its history as an educational hub by hosting the next wave of science and technology innovators and building an inclusive, purpose-driven community. The building will provide a range of coworking, office and meeting facilities to accommodate and support collaboration between researchers, entrepreneurs, businesses and partner organisations. New events and exhibition spaces, including lecture theatres and a community café, will be accessible to local businesses, community groups and arts and culture organisations to host and participate in events and activities. 

An application to convert the building from educational to commercial use has been submitted to Manchester City Council by joint venture partners The University of Manchester and Bruntwood SciTech. Pending application approval, the building is set to open in late 2024.  

Built in 1962, the Renold Building was the first of its kind in the UK to be entirely comprised of lecture theatres and seminar rooms. It is a building of note for many due to its striking features, including the faceted facade and stair tower, and the impressive internal mural on the lower ground floor. The redevelopment will retain and protect these elements as part of the application, as well as being sympathetic to the building’s exterior facades. Design interventions in the building’s interior will also be light touch, preserving the current condition as far as practically possible. This will allow for further conservation and restoration to be undertaken at a later date, ensuring the building will remain viable for future generations. 

Bradley Topps, Chief Commercial Officer for Bruntwood SciTech and Project Director for ID Manchester, said: “The transformation of the Renold Building into an innovation hub marks an important first step in the development of the trailblazing science and technology ecosystem we’re building at ID Manchester. We recognise the importance of the Renold Building to many in the local community and beyond, and we are committed to reactivating the building in a way that celebrates the rich heritage and architecture of the building. We’re very excited to be creating a new home for the next generation of Manchester innovators.” 

John Holden, Associate Vice-President, The University of Manchester and Executive Committee Member for ID Manchester, said: ”The Renold Building will be an invaluable place to bring together like-minded organisations and partners to collaborate, develop and test new ideas. We’re building our innovation ecosystem from the ground up and the Renold Building will be a place that not only accelerates the growth of our city’s most promising entrepreneurs, SMEs and university spin-outs, but also provides the spaces and opportunities to allow our local communities to participate, experience and benefit from innovation too.”  

The expertise and experience of ID Manchester’s respective partners will be instrumental to the creation of its innovation ecosystem. Bruntwood SciTech, a joint venture between Bruntwood, Legal & General and Greater Manchester Pension Fund, is the largest dedicated property platform serving the UK’s innovation economy and brings its expertise in developing partnerships across academia, local authorities, cities and the NHS. This year marks The University of Manchester’s bicentenary, celebrating 200 years of key discoveries, world firsts and incredible people, and ID Manchester will build on this storied history of learning, innovation and research. 

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