Published On: 28/09/2022|6.8 min read|

New Gateway to Altrincham’s Town Centre Emerges as Foundation’s Transformation Takes Shape

Bruntwood and Trafford Council’s transformation of Foundation, the former Rackhams
building at the heart of the Stamford Quarter, has passed a major development milestone
removing the site’s large bridge structures and creating a new landmark gateway to
Altrincham town centre

● As the first town centre building in Bruntwood’s £200m Pioneer programme, Foundation will
feature a market-leading blend of workspace, retail and leisure

● As part of Bruntwood and Trafford Council’s joint venture to transform Altrincham and
Stretford town centres, the new development will provide a gateway to a reconnected town
centre, and a wealth of local amenities for the community, which will support the long-term
growth of the local economy

Bruntwood and Trafford Council’s transformation of Foundation, the former Rackhams building, has passed a major development milestone as the removal of the site’s large bridge structures has created a new and exciting gateway to Altrincham’s thriving town centre.

The demolition of the bridges has opened up the space, adding more light and transforming the arrival experience into a reimagined environment. The new gateway will seamlessly connect the future attractive public realm, retail and leisure space to Altrincham Interchange, meaning the reimagined space will be well-connected to excellent tram, train and bus links.

Plans to transform the former Rackhams building into Foundation as part of Bruntwood’s Pioneer
development, and part of Bruntwood and Trafford Council’s wider £50m joint venture to transform Altrincham and Stretford town centres were given the green light by Councillors in January.

As the new heart of the Stamford Quarter, Foundation will bring a market-leading blend of workspace, retail and leisure to Altrincham. Bruntwood’s £200m Pioneer programme is creating the future of workspace design and innovation, centred on six key pillars: biophilia, art, sustainability, wellness, amenity and technology. As with all Pioneer projects, the blend of workspace, retail and leisure will create a space that actively enhances work life balance and improves the wellbeing of its communities.

As part of this, a focus on biophilia, which is known to improve wellbeing and productivity, will also be introduced through a 375 sq m living biophilic wall on the building’s external facade. This greenery will include 36,000 carefully selected plants grown in South Manchester, which will reduce the building’s carbon emissions whilst also creating a habitat for wildlife, equivalent to native scrubland and meadows found in and around Greater Manchester.

Bruntwood has also just announced its plans to use innovative air quality and biodiversity sensing technologies created via local company, I WANT PLANTS as part of their research partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University. This will also provide vital information for Bruntwood, enabling them to monitor and improve their environmental impact.

Additional sustainability measures will also be taken, including limiting the embodied carbon emissions during construction by retaining and reusing the existing structure. Additionally, by using recycled and secondhand tiles, laying low carbon carpets and salvaging the vast majority of brick from the original building - the environmental impact of the construction will be significantly reduced. In addition, several measures such as adding new thermal insulation, improving air tightness, removing gas fired heating and replacing with high efficiency heat pumps and the introduction of roof mounted solar PV panels will reduce operational carbon - the amount of carbon needed to operate the building post-completion - and will result in an EPC rating of B.

A landmark gateway between Altrincham town centre and beyond, Stamford Square will become a focal point for Altrincham’s existing high street, aiming to better connect, and complement, the existing national brands and independent shops on George Street and Stamford New Road. Increased engagement with the local community will be sought by blending the traditional prime high street with more independent businesses, hospitality and workspace. At Foundation there will be multiple spaces available for retail and hospitality operators within the building and leading out onto the new terraces and Stamford Square.

The development forms a central part of the wider transformational plans for the regeneration of the Stamford Quarter in Altrincham, which is being delivered through a joint venture between Bruntwood and Trafford Council. The Council is also improving the public realm in the town centre through works to improve roads and new cycle lanes.

Foundation has been designed to create a thriving workspace and lifestyle anchor for the town centre, where people can work, meet and socialise. Foundation’s hospitality offering will spill out onto Stamford Square, providing a destination for the community and a vibrant hub of activity from day to night.

The project includes a complete reimagination of the old department store, including the transformation of 50,000 sq ft of commercial workspace and 25,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space. This redesign of the ground floor will offer a unique, welcoming arrival experience, and provide hospitality with a cafe, host, restaurant and bar offering, and retail. The development will include a flexible coworking space to provide an exciting workspace environment for freelancers and start-ups wishing to work in the town centre.

A new two-storey extension will also create an indoor-outdoor work and lifestyle experience. The extension will incorporate new terraces on the first floor which will feature breakout areas, and a new solar panel system on the roof. A wellness studio, as well as extensive cycle storage and showers, have also been incorporated into the plans to encourage a cycling commute and promote wellbeing among customers.

Andrea George, town centre and consumer brands director at Bruntwood, said: “Foundation is our first regional Pioneer scheme in a town centre, and will be a truly best-in-class experience. It will bring together a vibrant mix of retail, hospitality and workspace where people can meet, eat, drink, and immerse themselves in a range of arts, cultural and wellbeing events. It offers lots of opportunities for local, independent and national businesses to join Altrincham’s thriving community. “As a Pioneer building, there will be significant focus on wellbeing and amenity as well as a drive towards significant sustainability measures. It’s incredibly exciting to be able to bring our market-leading ethos around the circular economy to a town centre workspace, creating a blueprint for future developments.  “It’s hugely exciting to pass this development milestone, which has opened up the former site to create a new gateway to Altrincham town centre. It marks the next stage of reinvesting in the building and creating a reimagined, reborn and reconnected town centre, and we’ve already seen a lot of interest in the workspace and retail space at Foundation ahead of the project’s completion.”

Cllr Andrew Western, Leader of Trafford Council, said: “Altrincham is an award-winning destination for business, retail and hospitality operators. “It’s vital we harness this success and support the sustainable growth of the local economy. Trafford Council is committed to transforming the town centre and breathing new life into Stamford Quarter as part of our long-term partnership with Bruntwood, and in close consultation with residents. This latest milestone in the reimagination of the former Rackhams building is a landmark step towards creating a modern, successful and connected town centre for the future.”

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