Urban Splash and Fanatics announce commercial deal at Stubbs Mill
Award winning regeneration company Urban Splash and Fanatics, the world’s largest retailer of licensed sports merchandise and the leading sports e-commerce provider, have announced a deal that will move Fanatics into the 25,000sq ft Stubbs Mill in New Islington in one of the biggest office deals in Manchester this year.
The international arm of Fanatics, which formerly operated as Kitbag until it was bought by the American sports licensing giant in February, will use the move to develop a new base that will further its expansion plans across all areas of the business.
The news comes as Urban Splash completes the restoration of Stubbs Mill and unveils images of its finished look for the first time. The mill, which originally made machines for industry, was constructed between 1880 and the early 20th century, Stubbs has been sensitively restored for contemporary commercial uses.
Urban Splash director Nathan Cornish explained: "Stubbs Mill was a bold and brave move for us; it's on the periphery of the city centre and in an area that has only recently been established. It would've been an easy move to turn it into apartments but we thought we could make it work commercially, thus bringing hundreds more people into New Islington. Fanatics will greatly add to mix of uses and community here."
Fanatics CEO Andy Anson added: “This is a fantastic development for the company, its staff and for the city of Manchester. We needed to move to accommodate our aggressive growth plans but it was incredibly important to us that we stayed true to our roots and remained in Manchester. Moving closer to the city centre means we'll be right at the heart of Manchester's commercial and tech resources and the choice of Stubbs Mill means we'll be operating from one of the coolest environments that any e-commerce business could wish for."
The general restoration process of the site, which began in 2015, has seen many of the original features retained. Nathan continued: "Aesthetically Stubbs had all the hallmarks of a typical Urban Splash scheme; stunning original features which we've retained and fused with new design features to create a high spec, well-designed office for Fanatics. We're delighted that they'll soon be moving in."
Andy Anson added: "The reputation of Stubbs Mill as an historic textile centre, means there's a great synergy with our own product base in the sport and leisure wear market. We have plans to use an extensive area for product development and design and we're proud of the fact we'll be continuing the legacy."
Urban Splash will now continue its work on the broader regeneration of New Islington with the development of Mansion hoUSe, a modular apartment concept currently in for planning. Earlier this year the company announced it had completed and fully sold out all of its 43 modular hoUSes which are just a few minutes' walk from Stubbs.
"This year's been pivotal for New Islington,” added Nathan. “Urban Splash has completed hoUSe, welcoming new residents into every single unit and now we’ve completed and let Stubbs Mill. Add to that the opening of the permanent building for the New Islington Free School and the area’s very much on the Manchester map; it changes every time you visit."
Andy concluded: "This move for Fanatics is supported by our U.S. parent and creates an environment suitable to a world-leading sports business. It will allow us to continue to grow our international business in a way we otherwise could not have done. As we develop domestically and across Europe and Asia, it's fantastic to think we'll be doing so from the heart Manchester and we look forward to welcoming visiting partners and suppliers from across the globe to a location we'll be proud to call 'home'."