Real-estate investment firm AM alpha has plans to transform the iconic Grade II listed building in Manchester city centre, UK, into a mixed-use development.

Rylands building, which earlier housed the Debenhams department store, will undergo extensive refurbishment following which will feature retail, leisure and office space.

The building, located on the corner of Market Street and High Street in Manchester, will be fully redeveloped with the upper floors being converted into quality office space and the ground floor featuring a shopping arcade.

With AM alpha intending to give a four-storey extension, the building will have ten floors of office space, a shopping arcade and a leisure area, primarily for restaurant businesses.

Enabling works for the refurbishment of the vacant building have already commenced, with main works slated to commence next year and the completion expected in early 2025.

A specialist in listed and sustainable projects, Russell WBHO has been appointed as a construction partner for the project, while local property firms OBI and Barker Proudlove will serve as letting agents.

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Russell WBHO founder and managing director Gareth Russell said: “We are delighted to be working with AM alpha to revitalise the historic Rylands building and position it in the market as a highly sustainable building. With our extensive experience in historic preservation and sustainable building, we will make AM alpha’s vision a reality.”

The building will be designed in a way to achieve Net Zero Carbon status.

Following the renovation of the historic building, a certification for sustainable construction according to BREEAM Excellent or Nabers 5 is planned.

AM alpha senior vice president Stephan Schmid 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.”

OBI founding director Will Lewis said: “The property is close to bustling areas such as Piccadilly Gardens and the Northern Quarter and will appeal to many local businesses. Due to the sought-after location, we already see a lot of interest from potential future tenants.”


Image: Rylands building will undergo extensive refurbishment following which will feature retail, leisure and office space. Credit: AM alpha/ Russell WBHO.