Builders of Manchester Soho House luxury members club goes into administration

-Credit:Soho House
-Credit:Soho House

The company contracted to build a luxury members' club in Manchester has gone into administration.

Stevenage-based main ARJ Construction Ltd was established in 1991 and focuses on projects worth £10m to £60m, particularly in South East England.

The company was the main contractor on two Manchester jobs: a £24m expansion of Mollies Hotel and the Soho House members' club in the former Granada Studios for Allied London Properties, and a £15.6m office fit-out job in St John’s Quarter for

The Granada Studios redevelopment will also be home to a Mollie’s Motel, Bar & Diner, offering Mollie’s guests, Soho House members and the public access to a live music bar and events space on the lower ground floor, a lounge & deli bar, workspace and diner at street level and a total of 133 bedrooms designed by Soho House.

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In a statement ARJ Construction said: "We regret to advise that ARJ Construction Limited have entered Administration and ceased trading on 29 April 2024, with Simon Carvill-Biggs and Sarah Cook of FRP Advisory Trading Limited being appointed as Administrators."

A spokesman for the administrators said that it was anticipated ARJ would be wound up and that an alternative contractor would have to be found to complete the Soho House project in Manchester, with a quick procurement process taking place.

Soho House is one of the most anticipated openings in recent years in Manchester. It was previously scheduled to open in spring this year but that has since been moved to possibly autumn.

A source told the Manchester Evening News work on Soho House was continuing during a transitional period with a new contractor being secured and the plans for an opening this year remain.

Spread across five floors, the London-born members club will open its first northern house in the city within the former television complex, complete with a gym, steam room sauna, fine-dining restaurant, late-night bar, 23 bedrooms and its very own rooftop pool.

Located in the St John’s neighbourhood, which in recent years has become home to Aviva Studios and upscale Greek restaurant Fenix, Soho House marks the latest stage in the district’s rapid transformation.

The classy interior planned for  Soho House Manchester
The classy interior planned for Soho House Manchester -Credit:Soho House

Since opening the very first Soho House in a Georgian townhouse in London’s Bohemian Soho district over thirty years ago, the members’ club for creatives has expanded across the world. And while a large proportion of the houses are in cities - London currently has 11 - it’s also created hubs deep within the English countryside and on idyllic Caribbean islands.

As a building with a rich history in media, having been the site of The Beatles’ first television performance in 1962 and the former home to Coronation Street, it is thought that the transformation of Old Granada Studios will most closely resemble the company's White City House in London.

The Manchester building’s 1950s-1960s roots will be reflected with a mixture of bespoke and vintage furnishings.

On the 6th floor of the Manchester property there are 23 bedrooms designed specifically for Soho House members, ranging from cosy rooms to large suites which will have freestanding baths and living space. This floor also includes an 80 sq metre private apartment with an open plan living room with kitchenette, dining table and lounge area and a connecting second bedroom.

The property will also feature a first-floor gym including a free weights area, studio space, plus a steam and sauna that opens onto a balcony. Changing rooms will have showers, vanity areas and lounge spaces for members to unwind after training.

The main members’ Club space will be located on the eighth floor and will feature a casual bar and lounge area and a more formal restaurant. The east-facing wall has a retractable roof with an awning which will be opened up in warmer weather to make the most of the views across the city - at least when the sun comes out.

Towards the back of the space, an indoor pool lounge area will connect to the outdoor rooftop pool which has sunbeds and a bar on the terrace. As is the case with all Soho Houses, each property features its own towel design and ours will be a deep blue with a dark ochre stripe down it. A spiral staircase connects to the floor above which includes a late-night bar and live music space that overlooks the rooftop pool.

The main members’ Club space will be located on the eighth floor and will feature a casual bar and lounge area and a more formal restaurant run by Head Chef James Lord (Image: Soho House)
The main members’ Club space will be located on the eighth floor and will feature a casual bar and lounge area and a more formal restaurant run by Head Chef James Lord (Image: Soho House) -Credit:Soho House

The new Manchester House will feature a carefully curated collection of works from artists based in and around the city including Lubaina Himid, Mary Ramsden, Thomas Heatherwick, Osman Yousefzada and Ryan Gander.

There will also be a Soho Mentorship offering networking opportunities and coaching to young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds. The 16-week mentoring programme connects those young people with Soho House members, and each mentee is awarded a Soho House membership to help grow their network.

And finally, while no set date has yet been set for Soho House Manchester's launch, it's thought it may only be a few months away. Bosses have previously suggested an autumn opening date.

Membership will cost £2,950 a year for access to 43 Soho Houses globally, and £1,925 a year for access to Soho House Manchester only. Membership includes access to the House with up to three guests, daily member event programming, and access to the members-only gym.

Soho House & Co CEO Andrew Carnie said earlier this year: “Bringing Soho House to other cities in the UK has always been something we've wanted to do and, as a Mancunian, I’m particularly proud to be coming to Manchester. Nick and the design team have worked hard to create a space for our members that preserves the heritage of the Granada Studios building, while introducing a rooftop pool terrace and floor to ceiling windows on the top floor. The view of the city is going to be amazing from there and I can’t wait for members to experience it.”