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The Grade II listed building in Manchester city centre, which formerly housed the Debenhams department store, will undergo extensive modernisation.

The complete refurbishment will include fully redeveloping the existing building, converting the upper floors into high-quality office space and creating a shopping arcade on the ground floor.

AM alpha will also add a four-storey extension to the building meaning Rylands will boast ten floors of high-quality office space, a shopping arcade and a leisure area, mainly for restaurant businesses, after the refurbishment.

Enabling works for the transformation of the vacant building have already begun, with main works scheduled to start in 2023 and completion expected in early 2025.

Russell WBHO, which specialises in listed and sustainable projects, will act as a construction partner for the project, while local property companies OBI and Barker Proudlove have been appointed as letting agents.

Gareth Russell, founder and managing director of Russell WBHO: “We are delighted to be working with AM alpha to revitalise the historic Rylands building and position it in the market as a highly sustainable building. With our extensive experience in historic preservation and sustainable building, we will make AM alpha’s vision a reality.”

The building is designed to achieve Net Zero Carbon status. After the renovation of the historic building is completed, a certification for sustainable construction according to BREEAM Excellent or Nabers 5* is planned.

Stephan Schmid, Senior Vice President at AM alpha: “Working with listed buildings is always a great privilege. We are proud to be able to give this historic Manchester landmark a new future and restore Rylands to its former glory in a very sustainable way. In this way, we are also helping to achieve Greater Manchester’s 2038 carbon neutrality target.”

“It’s fantastic working with AM alpha on such an exciting project in our home town. Rylands is a well-known, impressive building,” says Will Lewis, founding director at OBI. “The property is close to bustling areas such as Piccadilly Gardens and the Northern Quarter and will appeal to many local businesses. Due to the sought-after location, we already see a lot of interest from potential future tenants.”