Saving the former Unitarian Chapel, Upper Brook Street, Manchester
Less than half a mile outside Manchester City Centre sits one of Manchester’s most important historic buildings, the former Unitarian Chapel. It is a building with a very interesting history and was designed by the famous architectural duo of AWN Pugin and Charles Barry, later collaborators on the Palace of Westminster.
Since the roof of the building became unsafe and was removed in 2007, the building deteriorated rapidly, becoming one of Historic England’s list of top 10 “Buildings At Risk”. In 2010 specialist historic building developer Church Converts agreed to take on the challenge, and three years later obtained planning and listed building consent to restore the building and convert it into student accommodation. The project was then taken forward by one of the Church Converts partners, Simon Linford, Director of Czero Developments. Czero financed the scheme and delivered the development on behalf of Empiric Student Property.
Saving the Chapel was a highly complex project. Essentially a new building has been built with the shell of the Chapel to provide six floors of studio accommodation, with the former Sunday School also converted into studios. Finally a small building has been added in the former churchyard to provide additional living space. The building was completed in September 2017, meaning now one of Manchester’s most important buildings has been saved.