The Soapworks in Salford is the regeneration of the former Colgate Palmolive factory, sitting along the canal’s edge just outside central Manchester by architects shedkm. This flexible, speculative development has proven to be a remarkably successful commercial development with 90% of the building already let to unexpectedly large tenants. Bought and developed during a period of financial uncertainty, the project is testament to the draw of high-quality design with a distinct identity.
Completed in two phases, the project includes the redevelopment of the brick ‘Boilerhouse’ in 2010, which was so quickly let that it triggered further development on the site. This building has been brought up to modern standards with a new glazing system installed behind the existing openings, along with the addition of a new rooftop penthouse and external terrace. It was important to retain original features while ensuring that the building is now compliant with current regulations.
The neighbouring factory has seen a radical overhaul of the existing structure and the appearance of the whole development has been modernized. The existing building has been significantly rationalized, with unnecessary extensions removed and a new signature entrance created, leading visitors along a dynamic concrete walkway. A key defining characteristic of the exterior is a series of bright yellow fire-fighting cores that graphically zigzag up the brick and concrete framed exterior. Internally, the ground floor space forms a commercial environment with public access into the heart of the building. The main ‘atrium’ space in turn rises vertically to create a central circulation point for all building users, with constant reference through a glass wall to the waterfront.
Hazel Rounding, shedkm Director, said: “The Soapworks will reconnect this historic site to the local community and bring significant benefits to the area. The site will stimulate and secure waterfront growth and deliver significant new employment opportunities. Providing a reinvented new area in Ordsall to work, socialise and live.”
Soapworks Manager, Jennifer Bamber, said: “We are delighted that the development has let so quickly and those lettings are a testament to ShedKM’s vision and delivery. We had initially thought that the development might ultimately interest smaller creatives in providing an alternative offer to Media City UK. But we quickly realised that we had a unique product in the market place satisfying a gap for large floor plates which have been quickly filled by large occupiers. Our strength of belief in the development and its design helped us to stay strong and hold out for the right tenants“
Soapworks first tenant MWH Global is now operational and occupying 25,000sqft, soon to be followed by the UK border agency who are currently fitting out 56,000 sq ft and will occupy next summer. While Talk Talk have committed to a further 102,000 sqft in addition to their occupation of the 20,000sqft stand alone Boilerhouse. Fit out of the additional space will start in the new year. The third and final phase of the development of the site, a 170,000 sq ft block, is yet to be developed but when complete will see a huge regeneration for the area.
For more press information on shedkm please contact:
Estelle Jarvis at Caro Communications
T: +44 (0) 20 7713 9388