Former Martins Bank HQ to undergo hybrid work refurb
The headquarters of the only major bank outside London has been acquired by hybrid workspace provider Kinrise. Expected to become a five-star hotel, the 210,000 sq ft building will undergo a sensitive but significant refurbishment. Kinrise say the work will showcase the character of the building and retain original features while integrating state of the art technology. The resulting modern and flexible workspaces are designed to suit large companies and startups.
The stunning building, with its impressive waterfront location on Water Street, had been expected to find new life as a luxury hotel after the last tenants, Barclays, vacated the building in 2007. Plans were revealed in 2016 but never implemented.
Martins was the only UK national bank to have its headquarters outside the capital. Founded by Tudor financier Thomas Gresham, it was taken over in 1918 by the Bank of Liverpool. The resulting nationwide banking group needed a grand headquarters and opened its imposing head office in 1932. With its Portland Stone facade, the Martins Bank building is one of the country's finest examples of Interwar Classical architecture.
The transformation of the landmark Grade II listed building including the bank vaults and magnificent banking hall will begin later this year.
Transforming historic buildings
This is Kinrise's first acquisition in Liverpool, although they currently own property across Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham. The workspace provider specialises in transforming historic buildings to deliver hybrid workspace. This is achieved by reimagining and refurbishing unique properties with a value-led, design-based approach.
Unlike co-working firms, Kinrise owns its own buildings giving it the opportunity to create vibrant and exciting spaces across the Midlands and North. Buildings are designed to accommodate every style of business from a solo entrepreneur requiring a single desk to established corprorates.
As part of the Liverpool project, Kinrise will create a ground floor public space to house planned cultural programmes, exhibitions and local community events. The Martins Bank refurbishment is expected to be developed within Kinrise's four parameters: social, human, financial and environmental.
The demand for hybrid workspace has accelerated as a result of the pandemic and the need for more flexibility in the workplace. In the hybrid model, employees choose whether they want to spend time in centralised or satellite office space, co-working spaces, so-called third spaces like coffee shops or at home. The Martins Bank building will be designed to offer hybrid options that may tempt reluctant workers back to the office.
Sam Lawson Johnston, Kinrise Co-Founder, said the acquisition of Martins Bank was a significant milestone for the company, helping them expand into a fourth city. Praising Liverpool as a diverse and vibrant city, he said the Martins Bank building met all Kinrise's specifications for a building with its central location, abundance of natural light and space and great character.
The property will be Kinrise's largest acquisition to date and the company are hoping to give it a new lease of life for businesses and the community. Kinrise are expected to expand into other high-growth culture and work hubs in the future including London, Brighton and Bristol.