Cotton to Commerce – Middleton Mill to become a £50m global trade hub
Posted by Oliver on 1 Dec 2015 at 10:43
A Hong Kong based property development company’s biggest investment project in Europe is set to get under way in the borough of Rochdale after permission was given for the £50million redevelopment of Warwick Mill.
The scheme to transform the five-storey 200,000 sq ft mill in Middleton into a global trade hub with restaurants and cafes could start as early as January 2016. Rochdale Borough Council has approved plans for the site after working with Hong Kong-based property development group G Suite Holdings Ltd, to help secure the investment deal.
The redevelopment of the imposing Grade II-listed structure, which has been largely empty for a number of years, could create more than 200 new jobs and is a further boost for the borough after the recent £18.5m investment by Standard Life Investments on Kingsway Business Park, and confirmation that Next and M&S will anchor Rochdale’s new Town Centre East shopping development.
The plans will see developers convert the red brick mill, built in 1907, into a facility where Chinese companies, as well as those from emerging markets in Asia, can exhibit and sell their goods in the UK and European markets. The development will be known as Red Warwick and will also be open to the public.
Red Warwick is also expected to benefit home grown businesses, with G Suite keen to use the development to help local companies exploit emerging markets in Asia.
The plans also include the demolition of the 1960s office building, London House, which adjoins the site. The developers are hoping to flatten the building in January to create a car park for Red Warwick.
G Suite is expecting the whole scheme to be operational by early 2017.
Richard Farnell, Leader of Rochdale Borough Council, said: “Securing a £50m investment for this important site really confirms the growing confidence investors have in our borough. The council has worked extremely hard to get to this stage and I am grateful for the faith that G Suite is showing in us.
“This is a game changer for Middleton and the wider borough because as well as restoring a historic landmark building and creating jobs for our local residents, it will bring companies from around the globe to Greater Manchester. It’s clear that the potential benefits of this scheme are far reaching.”
At a recent launch in Bejing 19 companies, including a big name global brand, expressed firm interest in signing up to the development.
The announcement comes on the back of President Xi Jingping’s trip to Manchester in October which was aimed at cementing the trade relationship between the UK and China. It’s also the second major investment from a Hong Kong-based company in Greater Manchester, with Cathay Pacific launching a direct flight route from Manchester to Hong Kong 12 months ago this week. G-Suite director Robert Wong said: “I am extremely excited with today’s announcement that planning consent has been given. This means we can commence the renovation of the Grade II-listed former textile mill into a landmark the people of Middleton and the surrounding areas will be proud of. Red Warwick will be home to an international trading hub that will develop the two-way relationship between Asia and the UK’s Northern Powerhouse. Our unique trading model will bring the very best of Chinese and Eastern manufacturing to the independent retail and wholesale market. We look forward to working with Rochdale Borough Council to develop Red Warwick, our third project in the North West.”
Steve Rumbelow, Chief Executive of Rochdale Borough Council, said: “Red Warwick can bring huge benefits for the borough of Rochdale and the Greater Manchester region. The transformation of a building that symbolises the entrepreneurial spirit of Rochdale and the Industrial Revolution into a global business centre typifies the Northern Powerhouse story that we intend to be a major part of.”
Councillor Peter Williams, Cabinet Member for Business, Skills and Employment and Middleton Councillor, said: “This important project is great news for Middleton and the wider borough and to see job creation on this huge scale is fantastic. We’ll be working closely with G Suite to ensure that our local residents and businesses can take full advantage of this wonderful opportunity.
“Middleton members have been looking to see Warwick Mill developed for a number of years and this is an exciting project, that would be the final piece in regeneration for Middleton Town Centre.”