Urban residential developer known for loft apartments to provide “unconventional” offices in London.
Developer Manhattan Loft Corporation is to develop customised, flexible offices in London for let and for sale to individual tenants.

Manhattan has launched its drive into office development with a £4.5m conversion of an office building in Southwark Street, London SE1. Chairman Harry Handelsman said the scheme, to be designed by architect CZWG, was a prototype for a new office concept.

He said: “I think there is an interest in and a need for exciting, unconventional office space in London – for example, among media and design firms – and I think we can fulfil it. The idea is to create offices with interesting features that offer great flexibility.”

Manhattan Loft submitted an outline planning application in July to convert the four-storey building into six floors of office space, which will be subdivided and multi-let according to tenants’ needs. The scheme is a joint venture with developer Richford.

Describing the Southwark Street building to be converted, Handelsman said it had “a great entrance hall, lots of light, great beams and columns, wooden floors and and exposed brick – all the things that have been successful in Manhattan Loft residential developments and made them special.”

He expects to unveil a second office scheme in three weeks and is in negotiation for three further commercial sites in London – 1700 m2 of offices and two restaurants in Charlotte Street were submitted for planning approval three weeks ago.

The company is also planning its first west London loft project – a £10m CZWG-designed mix of new build and conversion in the Fulham Broadway conservation area. This will include 39 apartments, 1200 m2 of offices and 1500 m2 of retail. It will be a joint venture with developer Osborne Group and is scheduled to start on site in early 2000.

Handelsman registered a new German company – Manhattan Loft Corporation Germany – two months ago. It is developing four schemes, in Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne and Stuttgart, with joint-venture partner Berlin developer Beos.

  • Manchester-based developer Urban Splash has won planning permission to convert an art deco box factory in Manchester’s Castlefield district into 75 shell apartments. The £10m scheme, designed by Urban Splash’s in-house architecture team, will feature a £1m loft-style penthouse. The developer has invited 24 architects to design fit-outs for individual tenants.