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Letting The Sunlight Into Manchester's First Skyscraper

The new double height entrance to Sunlight House, Quay Street, Manchester

It should have been Manchester's first skyscraper and Europe's tallest office block, designed to look like the towering office buildings of 1930s Chicago. But Sunlight House, Quay Street, never made it beyond 14 storeys. Plans to add the 26 storeys that went missing due to planning and financial problems ended in failure in the 1930s and 1940s.

Now Aberdeen Standard Investments has completed the first phase of a £4M refurbishment designed to let the sunlight pour into Sunlight House. The plans include a new double height reception with a retail unit, a café, a breakout area and a meeting zone due for completion in October.   

The landmark art deco 215K SF building has already seen refurbishment on the 14K SF eighth floor including large sash windows, open beamed ceilings with suspended lighting and parquet flooring. Further refurbishment works on the 13th floor are underway.

Press reports have often claimed the building was haunted — perhaps by the shade of its Russian-born architect Joseph Sunlight. However, claims of Manchester office hauntings should not be taken too seriously: a notorious video of a haunting in an office at Liverpool Road, Manchester went viral in 2016 only to be debunked in 2017.