The Co-operative Group has launched a search for a development master planner for a major regeneration site in the centre of Manchester.

The 20-acre site, currently home to The Co-op headquarters, borders Corporation Street and Miller Street and is a major part of the Northern Gateway regeneration area in the city.

The Co-op announced last month that it was moving from the site and looking for new premises in Manchester in a move expected to take two years. Its financial arm, also located on the proposed development site, is reviewing its accommodation options.

Green criteria

The Co-op has a number of criteria for any plans for the site. Its current headquarters, the CIS Tower, has the largest vertical solar panel array in Europe, and the group wants the new development to be carbon neutral. It also wants a mixed-use development which makes the most of the nearby stations.

Lynda Shillaw, director of property for The Co-op, said: ‘This is a high profile opportunity to create a masterplan which will fully realise the site’s commercial potential and at the same time provide a prime example of leading edge city centre regeneration.’

A website for the competition will be launched on Monday 26 November at www.manchestermasterplan.coop.

The Group expects to appoint the winning masterplanner early next year.