Michelle Rothwell, founder of Manchester’s property investment and urban regeneration company Watch This Space was named the Rising Star of the North at the British Council for Offices (BCO) NextGen Awards, as well as picking up the national Trailblazer award. Meanwhile, Sunderland’s Berghaus HQ was awarded the NextGen Choice Award for Innovative Fitout.
The BCO’s inaugural NextGen Awards come as part of its NextGen program which sets out to mentor and encourage the next generation of professionals to become future leaders in the industry, whilst providing a platform for new talent to share ideas. The awards dinner on November 22nd, attended by country’s top designers, developers, architects and occupiers under the age of 35, celebrated the achievements and successes of young professionals in the commercial property sector, and their mentors. NextGen members also voted for the office environments and buildings that have inspired them.
Michelle Rothwell, founder of Manchester-based Watch This Space, has this year worked on the full refurbishment of Grade II listed 31-33 Princess Street in Manchester City Centre, securing tenants for the whole 7,000 sq ft mixed use building prior to completion. Michelle also launched the UK’s first property co-working space, That Space, in August. Her work to develop co-existing spaces was of particular interest, as start-ups are increasingly striving to work collaboratively with like-minded companies in flexible and productive spaces. In addition to being named the Rising Star for the North, Michelle was also chosen by BCO President John Forrester as the winner of the Trailblazer award, a ‘wildcard’ award for a person, building, company or even technology that is establishing a paradigm or trend shift in the office sector.
Sunderland-based Berghaus HQ picked up the NextGen Choice Award for Innovative Fit Out for its major rejuvenation, transforming the showroom headquarters into a modern working environment. The brand’s ethos, ‘Live for Adventure’, is reflected in solutions such as a climbing rope staircase. BCO NextGen members described the building as “bringing the outdoors in”, and praised its innovative design and multipurpose ground floor space. Berghaus HQ was also honoured at the BCO National Awards in October, taking home the award for Best Fit Out of a Workplace.
Cristiano Testi, Chairman of the London and South East Next Gen Committee, commented: “Michelle impressed the judges with her vast experience across the office sector, including work on a number of projects involving existing building structures such as Princess Street, Manchester and the Duke William Hotel in Cumbria. The panel was particularly impressed with Michelle’s emphasis on the future of office space and the working environment”.
Richard Kauntze, Chief Executive of the BCO, said: “The Berghaus HQ has been an outstanding success, having allowed a dedicated local employer to remain in its existing location so it can continue to boost the economic prospects of the area. Not only was it chosen by NextGen members for the Innovative Fit Out award, it was also commended at this year’s BCO National Awards. This demonstrates the impact the development has had, and the respect it summons within the industry at all levels”