Expanding city centres

In Manchester’s Ancoats there are vast numbers of stunning buildings lining the streets, many of which date back to the 19th century. Positioned on the outskirts of the city centre, the area has benefited from significant residential, retail, leisure and commercial development over recent years, with the growth in population leading to the once run down and sparsely populated area becoming an established and vibrant city centre neighbourhood.

A key part of the redevelopment of Ancoats has been the restoration of former mill buildings, a number of which have seen stunning transformations to restore them to their former glory and make them fit-for-purpose – the historic Stubbs Mil, located in the New Islington area, is one just one of these.

From historic textile mill to hub for modern fashion

A Victorian three storey building constructed between 1880 and the early 20th century, this great cotton-spinning mill was originally home to the manufacturing company of Joseph Stubbs, a business specialising in making textile machinery. Eventually suffering the same fate as many other Manchester mills and falling into decline and then disuse, Stubbs Mill found use making outboard motors in the 1920s, which were sold under the names MoBo and JSL (Joseph Stubbs Ltd).

Over recent years the site has lay unoccupied, which led to vandalism and theft. That is until its extensive transformation by developer Urban Splash in 2016, which took the decision to transform the historic building into contemporary commercial space. Just before the transformation was complete, global sports brand, Fanatics, agreed a pre-let on the entire space – quite fitting that a company in the sport and leisure wear market should select a property steeped in textile history as its new base. ADT Workplace undertook the full design and refurbishment, Cat B & C, of the 27,000 sq.ft new workplace for Fanatics.

Sensitive restoration

The mill has been sensitively restored with many of its original features retained and incorporated skilfully into the new design, highlighting and rejuvenating the building’s unique industrial character. For example, the mill’s exposed steel beams remain and the work floors have been stripped back to reveal striking red brick throughout the building. The mill’s distinctive roof line has also been cleverly transformed into a distinctive feature, providing enviably high ceilings and an abundance of natural light throughout the new space.

Commenting on the project back in 2016, Andy Anson, CEO of Fanatics, said: “The reputation of Stubbs Mill as an historic textile centre, means there’s a great synergy with our own product base in the sport and leisure wear market. We have plans to use an extensive area for product development and design and we’re proud of the fact we’ll be continuing the legacy”.

And that legacy has continued, with hundreds of Fanatics staff currently based at Stubbs Mill,
all of whom benefit from working in the heart of one of Manchester’s most up and coming, re-established neighbourhoods.

For more detail on our work with Fanatics, please click here.

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