Plans Have Been Unveiled for the UK’s Highest Workspace Pool... and it's in Manchester City Centre!

‘The Alberton’ will include a rooftop holistic wellness centre with UK’s highest pool atop a commercial office building...

By Emma Davidson | Last updated 2 August 2022

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Bruntwood, one of the UK’s leading commercial property companies, has submitted plans for a revolutionary workspace and leisure destination, ‘The Alberton’, in Manchester City Centre.

Plans seek to replace the existing Alberton House on St. Mary’s Parsonage with a striking 18-storey office building, housing the UK’s highest workspace rooftop pool. Bruntwood Works, the workspace, retail and leisure arm of the Bruntwood Group, will develop and deliver the building, which will become the flagship in its Pioneer programme.

The Alberton’s focal point is its rooftop holistic wellness centre and the key element in its ‘workplace revolutionised’ ethos, promoting the integration of physical and mental wellbeing into daily working lives. As well as the performance lap pool, it will also boast a hydrotherapy vitality pool, hot and cold treatment rooms, fitness studio, yoga terrace, physio room, and changing and shower facilities.

On the 17th floor, plans reveal a landscaped panoramic roof terrace with commanding views across the city, a gym and an additional food and beverage outlet serving nutritious options.

Designed by EPR Architects and occupying the site of the first Manchester Gas Works, The Alberton is a modern reimagining of Manchester’s Victorian cotton mills with nods to the city’s industrial heritage throughout its architecture. The Alberton is set to complete in early 2025, with works on site due to begin later this year.

The development sits within Manchester City Council’s St. Mary’s Parsonage Strategic Regeneration Framework (SRF), which includes the redevelopment of the grade-II listed Kendal Milne building, and is already home to Bruntwood’s Blackfriars House and King’s House, which is currently undergoing redevelopment.

Following extensive research into how best to achieve ambitious sustainability goals, plans propose the demolition of the existing Alberton House. An energy inefficient 1960s office building, it was identified in the SRF as one which would benefit from regeneration to improve the area’s connection to the River Irwell.

The Alberton’s publicly accessible ground floor will create an open, welcoming connection between the Trinity Bridge walkway and Motor Square, featuring a hospitality offering across the entire floor, including a full-service restaurant, bar and coffee shop, with seating spilling out onto a landscaped and extended public realm.

Plans for The Alberton seek to create a Pioneer building with community and innovation at its heart, with event spaces including an intimate screening and cinema room in the basement, a large, flexible event space on the ground floor mezzanine, plus the 17th floor roof terrace, all helping to foster a sense of collaboration and inclusivity.

The ground floor mezzanine will also feature an extensive coworking lounge and a range of meeting rooms, with the full range of product offering available throughout the building. This includes Pay As You Go coworking day passes, through to Made and Managed bespoke offices, to support businesses of all sizes, from freelancers to large corporates.

Meanwhile, on the lower ground floor, customers will be able to benefit from a cycle hub complete with showers, changing and vanity areas, lockers and cycle storage, including Brompton bike lockers, promoting active commuting.

The Alberton will operate at net zero carbon and is targeting BREEAM New Construction 2018 Excellent Rating and NABERS UK Design for Performance Agreement 5.5 star. The development will feature glazing detailing to reduce solar gain, ambient loop heating and cooling to allow for greater efficiency and zonal control. The ambient loop will even use the pool itself as a heat sink, so that all heat rejected by cooling systems elsewhere in the building is reused.

Utilising principles from the circular economy, The Alberton will recycle and reuse materials and furniture where possible to ensure minimal waste.

Designed to represent Manchester’s industrial past in a contemporary aesthetic, The Alberton will create a new standard of workspace in the UK that will compare to the best on the world stage through its wellness facilities and sustainability credentials.

Ciara Keeling, CEO of Bruntwood Works, commented: “The Alberton is going to revolutionise workspace, not just in Manchester but across the UK. It is a development that supports integrating wellbeing into customer’s daily lives to encourage a positive work/life balance. This is evident in our plans to create a holistic wellbeing centre that will act as the focal point of the entire development, including a rooftop pool with panoramic views of the city.

“We understand that the way we work and live has changed for the long-term, so we wanted to give our customers a space that suits their changing needs and helps to promote a working environment where they can thrive professionally, but also personally.

“Our Pioneer programme has always recognised the need to incorporate best-in-class wellness and amenity credentials within the workspace, and The Alberton will offer the pinnacle of this. We are proud to be able to deliver a world-class workplace and leisure destination to Manchester as it continues to compete on a global stage for inward investment.”