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Debenhams’ redevelopment of the old Rylands building is bringing big changes to the backdrop

Debenhams’ redevelopment of the old Rylands building is bringing big changes to the backdrop

A project to breathe new life into a Manchester icon has been abandoned after contractors hired to redevelop the Grade II-listed building reportedly pulled out.

The Rylands building, on Market Street in the city centre, was last used as a Debenhams store but closed at the end of 2020. It is owned by German firm AM Alpha, which has revealed plans to transform the 1930s Art Deco landmark into office, retail and restaurant space with a new four-storey rooftop extension.

Initially, AM Alpha was reported to have appointed Russell WBHO to do the work. However, reports from a real estate news site Location Northwest suggest that the contractor has been abandoned by AM Alpha and his job will be taken on by Greater Manchester-based firm Domis.

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These reports have already been confirmed. Local Democracy Reporting Service from a source familiar with the project.

This means there could be delays to the completion of the building, which was originally expected to be completed in early 2025. The redevelopment has already had a rocky start, drawing the ire of senior Manchester councillor Pat Karney over graffiti spray-painted on external hoardings.

Graffiti painted on billboards, seen in late 2022 -Source: Sean Hansford | Manchester Evening News

Now he has issued an ultimatum to AM Alpha. “We had a report from our officers that they have two weeks to remove the graffiti from the sign. It’s bad publicity for the city,” he said.

“This message has been sent to the owners and if they don’t do it the council will and send them the bill. We will not allow this investment to bring down Manchester and make it look like a slum.”

AM Alpha, Domis and Russell WBHO have been contacted for comment.