Corn Exchange refurbishment and fit out, Manchester, UK

Transformation of the iconic Corn Exchange into a four-star boutique aparthotel
  • Customer
    Aviva Investment Property Trust
  • Procurement Route
    Two stage
  • Completion Date
    9 February 2018
  • Quantity Surveyor
  • Value
  • Form Of Contract
    JCT 2011 design and build
  • Project Manager
    Spring & Co
  • Structural Engineer
    Buro Happold
  • Area
    45,510 sq ft
  • Program Duration
    77 weeks
  • Architect
    5Plus Architects
  • ME Engineer
    Cundall Johnson


Heritage works in a city centre location posed a number of challenges for our team in the North West as they transformed the iconic Corn Exchange into a four-star boutique aparthotel.

Dating back to 1903, the Corn Exchange sits in one of the busiest shopping areas in Manchester with 13 live brands on the ground floor. Given its location and proximity to the Metrolink, lean project management, community engagement and comprehensive logistics planning was paramount to the project’s success.

The teams worked around the clock to uncover the building’s former grandeur, completing the project on time and budget, to create Manchester’s latest ‘must stay’ hotel.


The project

We delivered a full turnkey solution for the refurbishment and fit out of floors 2-5, which included significant structural alterations to the building’s floor slabs, and the refurbishment of the building’s chimneys and lead roof.

The building’s period features, including sash windows, architecturally-listed stair cores and ornate tiling, were revived to complement and enhance Roomzzz’s ‘heritage’ design concept.

The hotel now boasts a gym, lounge and a ‘Grab and Go’ breakfast area, and several management suites. While the stylish layout features a striking combination of existing brick walls and new partitioning to create four room types, from ultra-modern apartments to luxurious and palatial penthouses – all of which incorporate a fully-equipped kitchen.


Added value

Given the site’s location, sequencing material deliveries was a vital component of the job. 

Surrounded by pedestrian areas, and with live restaurants on the ground floor and all around the building, we could not use existing goods lifts to bring up materials or restrict access to the lower floors or concourse.

We came up with a hoist design to move materials up to the second, third and fourth floors, using a small footprint at the building’s base. This left the windows as the only access points for all the site’s materials, both coming in and going out. The largest of these windows, on the third and second floors, are 1.7 m high and 1.2 m wide.


“The ISG team at Corn Exchange have delivered a high-quality refurbishment project in a challenging city centre environment. They have overcome considerable access and logistical issues on the scheme and have achieved noteworthy social value successes.”

Jon Munce, director, Queensberry Real Estate



As part of ISG’s ambition to leave a lasting legacy in the communities it works in, we achieved the following: 

  • Seven apprentices on site, totalling 60 weeks
  • Curriculum support for 82 students from local colleges
  • Employability support for seven individuals from the local area
  • 122 hours of training for the existing workforce
  • Work experience for 26 Manchester-based college students through ISG’s WOWEX (World of Work Experience) initiative
  • Site tours for Salford City College students studying for a HNC in Construction
  • Over 75% of all subcontractors on this project were local (within 30 miles of the site)
  • Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) score of 42/50