Rochdale Black Box to be replaced by new civic offices

Posted on by John Cronin

Plans for a new, multi-million pound council office building in Rochdale moved a step closer after planning permission was granted at the last committee meeting.

rochdale officesRochdale Council intends to construct a £50m civic centre (pictured) that will offer office accommodation for 2,000 council workers, a public library and new restaurant and cafe floor space. A final decision from the Regulatory Committee is expected to be a formality. The new building is earmarked for an area of empty land next to the River Roch that was previously used as a car park. The proposed building will offer approximately 181,000 sq ft of floor space in a 7-storey scheme of which 166,000 sq ft is designated for office space.

black box officesAs seen by several other county councils, Rochdale Council is suggesting that the consolidation of separate offices in to a single, larger office building will be cost effective in the longer term. Once the new building is complete the main, existing civic office building – known locally as the Black Box (pictured) – will be demolished to make way for a speculative retail scheme.

The proposed civic office development follows on from the 2007 Rochdale Riverside Masterplan that proposed 5 new buildings that would offer either significant office space or residential accommodation.

Architects for the new building Faulkner Browns have designed a building that they expect to achieve a BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent’ as a minimum and with the possibility of achieving a rating of ‘Outstanding’ making the project one of the most environmentally friendly office buildings in the UK.

Despite the council not receiving any formal letters of objection,  some local residents are not in favour of the scheme. One resident told the Manchester Evening News: “Another council office block? In a recession? Mad. Utterly mad.”

Robert McAlpine were chosen as the preferred construction company in May, 2010.

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