Castlefield Recruitment has expanded its presence and opened a new Manchester headquarters on the top floor of Aflix Palace.

The 9,000 sq ft fourth floor was previously used for storage but has been repurposed to create exceptional office space with Blok Projects doing the fit-out work. Axi Studio was the appointed interior designer.

Castlefield has agreed a 10-year lease with the owners of Afflecks Palace, Bruntwood, for an undisclosed rent.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, officially opened the new office in a unique style, signing on the wall under a portrait of Stanley Chow of himself.

The recruitment company, which now employs more than 50 people, has plans for further significant growth in the coming years. Nick Ogden, one of the founding directors of Castlefield Recruitment, said: “As a thriving business originating in Manchester, this is a huge chapter for us and we are very excited that our new headquarters is located in one of the most productive buildings in the city, which embodies the Mancunian spirit that reflects the ethos of our company.

Andy Burnham said: “AFLEX is one of Manchester’s most iconic buildings, so to see it being used in a new way, with the support of the building’s owners and existing tenants, is fantastic. Increasingly, people don’t feel the need to leave Greater Manchester to advance their careers, and by Attracting more talent to the city region, we can ensure companies like Castlefield Recruitment continue to grow.

AJ Martin, Managing Director of Aflex, said: “The workspace on the fourth floor represents an exciting new chapter for Aflex. We have always been known for being a haven for creativity and a safe space for everyone, and this will continue as we continue to invest in our building to ensure it is open for generations to come.


St Margaret’s Rooms

Atelier MB has secured listed planning and building approval from Manchester City Council to transform the upper floors of St Margaret’s Chambers, 5 Newton Street, into 12 new homes.

Built around 1890 and attributed to the prolific Mancunian architect Charles Henry Heathcote, St Margaret’s Chambers is Grade II listed and was originally the Manchester office of the West India and Pacific Company. Most recently, it was home to a language school, which vacated the building in 2020.

The proposals for St Margaret’s Chambers have been submitted on behalf of the building’s owner, Charlotte Street Estates, which would create four one-bedroom apartments: five two-bedroom apartments and three three-bedroom apartments on the top four floors of the building.

Many of the building’s original fixtures and fittings will be retained and refurbished including the terrazzo floor in the entrance foyer, fireplaces, original doors and decorative cornices. The distinctive bay windows will be refurbished and the side windows restored – with secondary glazing to improve comfort.

The red brick and stone facade will be restored and repaired and bicycle parking will be provided in the basement.

Andrew Burns, director of Atelier MB, said: “St Margaret’s rooms were originally built as offices divided by a central corridor. Today, this original design fits more easily into apartments, and our proposals celebrate the heritage of the building, while retaining and restoring many of the original features to create new homes.” Featured.

“St Margarets Chambers is a beautiful building and an important part of Manchester’s heritage. We are delighted to be working closely with our client, Charlotte Street Estates, to breathe new life into it and secure its future.

Atelier MB is working with monitoring and evaluation consultants Clancy Consulting and environmental specialists Element Sustainability on the project. To accompany the planning application, a detailed heritage report has been compiled by Atelier Heritage.

Atelier Heritage, headed by Laura Jessop, is part of Atelier MB and provides comprehensive, independent valuations of existing buildings. Atelier MB are a Manchester based architectural firm working on sites across Manchester since 1980.


Chris Huggins

Global shipping company, AFS Global, has moved into a new 1,300 sq ft office within the Manchester International Office Centre, a major logistics hub adjacent to Manchester Airport.

Despite the recent turmoil in the logistics sector, the company has acquired a series of new clients and increased its headcount by 30% in the past year. It has also strengthened its senior leadership team, with the appointment of Chris Huggins as Commercial Director.

The office move will allow AFS to accelerate its growth and help clients take advantage of new opportunities as the logistics industry shows further signs of stabilization moving into 2024. Chris Higgins said: “The last few years have been very difficult for our industry for many reasons. . It has been a testing time, but our business model, which combines automation with outstanding customer service, has proven highly resilient. This has given us the confidence to reinvest and plan for further growth.



The old building that was once the headquarters of the Vegetarian Society will be converted into a home after its sale.

The 10,000 sq ft building, known as Parkdale, in Altrincham, has been home to the Botanical Society since 1969 when the Manchester and London societies united. The intention to sell Parkdale has been discussed for several years, as chief executive Richard McIlwaine explains: “Parkdale has served the association well for over 50 years, with many events and events held at the ground.

“However, times are changing and, as with many organisations, many of our staff are now working flexibly from home. We have taken the opportunity to locate back in central Manchester in a smaller site, easy to access public transport and also able to host our Teaching Kitchen The new one, which we are very happy to launch in the new year.

Parkdale is set in grounds of approximately 1.41 acres and consists of a two-storey building dating from c. 1870 set within mature gardens.

While the property has been used for office space as the home of the Vegetarian Society, many original period features remain, including the original fireplaces, arches and window details.

Ned Brooks, Associate Director in Savills’ development team in Manchester, said: “We are really pleased to have completed this sale on behalf of The Botanical Society to facilitate their relocation to Manchester city centre. Parkdale’s prime location in Altrincham and the fact that the building lends itself well to a single or multi-unit conversion This means that we have received the interest of a number of potential buyers.

Mills and Reeve Solicitors acted on behalf of the Botanical Society in the sale.


Illustration of an internal counseling center

DV8 Designs, the North West-based concept design specialist, has been appointed to work alongside Triangle Architects with Rochdale Borough Council to consult and design a new client consultation centre.
The multi-use advice center will serve as a one-stop shop for town residents, particularly landlords and people in the private rented sector, to access housing support and advice initiatives. The comprehensive facility offers additional amenities including accessible meeting spaces, flexible private booths and an interactive children’s play area to create a welcoming and safe environment for families.

Drawing on the proven benefits of biophilia, pockets of greenery and moss have been used to improve cognitive function, enhance creativity and evoke a sense of calm and serenity for people using the space.

With heavy footfall expected in the building, fabrics and finishes are designed to provide warmth, while allowing for durability, such as vinyl and fabrics with antimicrobial properties, high abrasion and stain resistance properties that protect the space for the future without feeling clinical.

Cllr Danny Meredith, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Housing at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “We will be opening this new facility in the autumn and look forward to welcoming residents into this high-quality space and working with them to solve their problems.”


Lakeside Footaslyum Store

Footasylum, the Rochdale-based fashion and sportswear retailer, is to open a new store at Lakeside Shopping Center in Essex.

The store represents a first-of-its-kind development of the Footasylum concept and has an improved look and feel. There has been significant investment in the store’s digital capabilities to create a seamless mobile-first customer journey. Following a successful trial in convenience stores earlier this year, click and collect cabinets have also been installed in the new-look store.

The store will span 10,000 square feet and will feature the company’s unique offerings of men’s footwear and apparel. However, in response to a significant increase in demand, additional space has also been allocated to display the company’s women’s apparel, which now features prominently within the store.

Footasylum previously occupied a smaller space in Lakeside, spanning less than 3,000 square feet. By scaling up to a larger, more prominent building, Footasylum has recruited an additional 30 team members across a mix of full-time and part-time contracts, bringing its total headcount at the Lake to 70.

The opening of Lakeside is a continuation of Footasylum’s ongoing store opening and expansion program. The company has announced a number of new store openings this year, the first of which is a 6,000 sq ft site at Harlequin Shopping Center in Watford, Hertfordshire, which will open in October.

Footasylum will also open its flagship store at 73-89 Oxford Street in London later this month. The new 20,000 sq ft store will trade across two floors, with additional customer service and click and collect lockers located on the lower level of the store.

The company is also upsizing a number of its existing sites, including those in Westfield Stratford City – which has been completed – Birmingham Bullring and Leeds White Rose.

The plans follow the opening of a new Footasylum store in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire in December 2022, which was the company’s first new opening since April 2021, and the first under the ownership of AURELIUS Group, which acquired Footasylum in August 2022.

Barry Bown, CEO and CEO of Footasylum, said: “We are on a mission to develop bigger and better stores in order to deliver a more immersive shopping experience to our loyal and growing customer base. Our new store at Lakeside certainly delivers that, and as our most technologically advanced store to date , it will seamlessly connect our online offerings and in-store offerings.

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