Government eyes Manchester’s Central Retail Park
An updated strategic regeneration framework for the 10.5-acre site has been drawn up in response to “potential interest from the Government Property Agency”, according to a council report.
Manchester City Council acquired the Central Retail Park site off Great Ancoats Street for £37m in 2017. Since then, there has been much speculation about potential end uses for the plot.
The city council adopted an SRF for the site in 2020 that proposed the creation of a commercial-led development featuring 1m sq ft of offices, including a 30-storey tower.
This SRF has now been updated in response to changing market trends and the interest from the GPA. Avison Young is advising the council on the updated SRF, which was originally designed by Bennetts Associates.
The updated plan will feature several buildings and an area of green space dubbed the Garden, aimed at “creating a vibrant destination for employees and visitors alike”, the council said.
It will focus on the delivery of high-quality architecture and urban design, and new and improved links and permeability for pedestrian and cycle routes, according to the report.
“Were GPA to commit to offices at the former Central Retail Park, this would provide the catalyst to deliver the masterplan and provide socio-economic benefits, including new high-quality jobs,” the report states.
The GPA is “exploring options for delivering office solutions in Manchester to meet the needs of various civil service departments, with the Former Central Retail Park as a potential option,” the report continues.
Subject to the approval of the updated Central Retail Park SRF and the completion of the scheme, the site could generate up to 8,000 jobs.
Manchester City Council leader Bev Craig teased an update on Central Retail Park when speaking to Subplot last week.
Going public on the latest thinking for the site she said: “The former Central Retail Park is a key site and one of the final pieces of the puzzle in the long-term regeneration story of New Islington, which has the potential to create thousands of new jobs in the city.
“For decades the site has created a physical barrier between Great Ancoats Street and the growing community around New Islington Marina. Developing this site will create a new public link through to the existing Cotton Field Park behind and create a green space at the heart of the low-carbon commercial district.”
An eight-week consultation on plans for the site will begin in the new year.