A guide to serviced offices and office space to rent in Salford Quays as well as general information that may be useful if you are considering renting office space in Salford Quays.
History & Geography
The Salford Quays is a development located in Salford in an area that was once one of the most lively docks in the world and home the famous Manchester Ship Canal. The canal, opened in 1894, enabled Manchester, then the greatest industrial city in the world, to be accessed by ocean-going ships, despite that fact that it is 40 miles inland. This enabled Manchester to cut Liverpool out of the equation, along with the Manchester-Liverpool railway and what was then perceived as its high prices. The construction of the canal led to the Manchester Docks becoming the third busiest in London. The Manchester Docks were made up of nine separate docks across Salford, Stretford and Manchester itself. The nine docks were divided into two sections, the Salford Docks and the smaller Pomona Docks. At the height of the Industrial Revolution Manchester exported its goods around the British Empire and the rest of the world, and the fact that it could do so directly only enhanced its prosperity and reputation. At its peak in 1958 Manchester Docks was dealing with 18 million tones of cargo per year. However modernization rendered the Manchester Ship Canal, and the Manchester Docks along with it, obsolete. The canal was simply not large enough to deal with the size of modern cargo ships, and so in the 1970s the canal, and along with it the Manchester Docks began to decline quickly. In 1982 the docks closed permanently and the land became completely derelict. In the following year one of the largest regeneration projects in the UK was begun. The area was rebranded Salford Quays and the water of the canal was cleaned, roads and bridges were built, and a promenade along the water created. By the early 1990s public funding and private investment had poured GBP 280 million into the area and hotels, cinemas, housing and office space had been constructed.
Tourism & Culture
Salford Quays is best known for the two landmarks of the Imperial War Museum North and the Lowry. The Imperial War Museum North is located in Trafford Park and was designed by the famed architect Daniel Libeskind. With its distinctive sloping walls and ceilings the building is designed to represent the damage wrought by war. The museum overlooks the ship canal and includes restaurants and public space. The Lowry is named after Manchester’s most famous artist, L.S Lowry, and features an extensive collection of his work. Opened in 2000, the Lowry is located on Pier 8, surrounded on three sides by the ship canal. It has two theatres, studio space and 17,330 square feet of gallery space. The south-western end of building also features a range of cafes, bars and restaurants. Another large draw is the Lowry Outlet Mall which contains several outlet stores from popular high street companies such as Marks & Spencer and Cadbury’s. The mall includes a cinema and several bars and restaurants which overlook the ship canal.
MediaCityUK is a 200-acre mixed-use project based in the Salford Quays that will be home to various media organizations. Planned as a two-phase project, the first is already complete. Whether the second phase is built will depend on the success of the first part of the project. MediaCityUK’s primary tenant will be the BBC, as it continues with its much-publicized decentralization from London. Other tenants will be ITV Granada and the University of Salford.
Salford Quays was always intended as a mixed-use project and some of the first new buildings constructed on the site were low-rise residences. In particular Merchant Quay, Grain Wharf and Labrador Quay were the site of many low-rise flats and townhouses. The Pier 8 and Pier 9 areas of the Quays have become the site of several high-rise residential towers, the most prominent being Imperial Point, City Lofts and the NV Buildings, whose distinctive curved frontages have become iconic of Salford Quays.
Salford Quays is directly connected to Manchester city centre through the Metrolink tram opened in 1999. The development is also linked to Eccles through the Pomona to MediaCityUK line. The trams operate every 12 minutes in the week and every 15 minutes on Sundays. The tram connections are often crowded with commuters and are sometimes subject to delays. Due to vandalism around the Langworthy Road area the Pomona to MediaCityUK line in particular is often delayed. There is a bus connection to the Quays though it is regarded as unreliable and fairly infrequent.
Over the course of the year Manchester city centre has been affected by falling demand for office space, and while this drop-off has also affected Salford Quays the effect has not been as significant. Traditionally Salford Quays has attracted businesses who do not desire to be immediately in the city centre, yet want to be close. Its existence has actually added to the economy of Manchester city centre. The opening of MediaCityUK has had a positive impact on Salford Quays, bringing new kinds of tenants from different industries, especially media. Currently Salford Quays supports a working population of over 13,000 people and 153 businesses. Amongst the tenants are BUPA, HSBC, Experian, TUI Travel and GMG Radio. Currently the area has 0.16 million square feet of office space. Additionally the area is set to benefit from an infusion of 500,000 square feet of new Grade A office space when the ongoing renovation of the former Colgate Palmolive production facility, dubbed the Soapworks, is complete.