Ask and Realty plan creative quarter on Boddingtons site

Ask Developments and Realty Estates have revealed plans for the £250m redevelopment of the former Boddingtons Brewery site to the north of Manchester's city centre.

Manchester City Council's executive committee have agreed the development framework for the 7.4-acre site, which is set to include offices, leisure and retail facilities with a hotel, cafes, bars and restaurants and residential units, with underground car parking.

The framework also looks into the practicality of using the existing chimney, although it is not a listed structure, as a landmark feature within the development.

The site was acquired in September 2006 with funding provided by the HSBC North West Corporate Banking Real Estate team.

Appointed architect HOK is designing a 500,000 sq ft office component aimed at smaller, creative businesses currently priced out of the traditional city centre market. A mix of floor-plate sizes will be available on both a sale and leasehold basis.

There will also be the creation of a new high-quality public central square within the heart of the development, together with proposals for a new pedestrian approach from New Bridge Street and a landmark mixed-use building at the junction of New Bridge Street and Deansgate to draw people into the heart of the scheme.

Ask said the framework highlights the development of low energy use buildings, using the existing water supply to the site for the purposes of heating buildings, as well as the possibility of the inclusion of green walls and roofs to buildings to aid bio-diversity.

Alan Burke, executive director at Ask Developments said: "We have worked hard with the city council to agree an exciting new future for this landmark site that will maximise its economic potential and further strengthen the city centre's offer.

"The locational attributes of the site, including accessibility to the Manchester Evening News Arena, Victoria Station and Deansgate, the heart of the retail core, are all assets we have sought to capitalise on, in bringing forward our development proposals."

Proposals for the former Boddington's site are being co-ordinated with those being brought forward for the wider surrounding area by consultants EDAW in their Strangeways Local Plan. Strangeways has the highest concentration of businesses outside the city centre – more than 5% of the total number of businesses within the city.

City council leader Sir Richard Leese said: "The Boddington's site, and Strangeways area, represent an important gateway to and from North Manchester. While we deplored the closure of the brewery, we were always adamant that the site would be used to create more jobs. It's very pleasing that 1,850 jobs are forecast, compared to the 123 jobs lost when the brewery closed. Overall these plans represent an outstanding opportunity to drive renewed investment in the area north of the city centre. They will also complement a host of other regeneration initiatives in the surrounding area."

The scheme is expected to be built over a 10-year period with detailed planning applications made on a phased basis and work is expected to start on site with the first phase in summer 2008.

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