2 Atherton Street, Manchester M3 3GS | Status at Jun ’19: BEING CONVERTED
Sometimes simply referred to as the ‘Granada building’ and most recently known as the ‘HQ Building’, this eight-storey part of the site was built in 1961. It housed the various production/support offices for Granada Television’s headquarters, with a large foyer on Atherton Street added in 1966. The building connected to the original two-storey Administration Block via a link block that was constructed slightly earlier but as part of the overall development.
The roof of the building boasted a penthouse flat (used by Granada’s chairman and founder, Sidney Bernstein), a 25 metre-high antenna (originally for decorative purposes) and an iconic ‘GRANADA TV’ sign – however, the sign and antenna were removed in 2010 amid safety concerns. The flat(s)* remains (although the state/most recent use of the interior is unknown), along with transmission equipment that was used to receive pictures from a microwave transmitter mounted on the side of the nearby Hotel Campanile Manchester, where a camera housed in the hotel’s loft streamed live video of part of Manchester city centre for use as a news backdrop.
*Some sources also refer to a second flat, occupied by Sidney’s brother, Cecil Berstein.
The building – the exterior of which consists predominantly of granite, marble and limestone materials – was designed by architect Ralph Tubbs, in such a way that it could easily be converted into a hotel (should the studios fail), and was built by Swinton-based building firm, J. Gerrard & Sons Limited.
Over 50 years later, in a peculiar twist of fate, the very same company (since acquired by multi-national Amec Foster Wheeler plc) was originally shortlisted to work on the development of the present-day site to convert it into the proposed Manchester Grande hotel.