The Manchester music venue has appointed contractor City Build to deliver a project designed by OMI Architects to increase its capacity from 350 to 500 people.
Inner City Music, the company that owns and operates Band on the Wall, plans a £3.5m expansion of the historic live music venue on the corner of Swan Street and Great Ancoats Street in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
The project aims to increase the overall capacity for headline artists and performances, remodel the bar area and add an external terrace area to the venue.
There will also be a smaller performance area with capacity for 80 people on the ground floor of the building. In addition, the project will create a dedicated learning complex above the main venue space, to include a rooftop A/V suite for young people and other education participants to create fresh digital work in collaboration with international touring artists.
The new learning space will also be home to Band on the Wall’s improved archive facilities, enabling the organisation to better catalogue its library of historical content. Selected archive materials will continue to be exhibited inside the venue.
The Cocozza-style building is one of only a few remaining structures from the former Victorian Smithfield Market, and the property’s façade will be retained and fully restored under the plans.
Inner City Music secured funding for the scheme from Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
As well as OMI Architects, the project team includes Civic Engineers as structural engineer, Buro Four as project manager, Simon Fenton Partnership as cost consultant, and Brentwoop Group as MEP designer.
Gavin Sharp, chief executive of Inner City Music, said: “It means so much to everyone at Band on the Wall to be able to share the good news that our project to expand the venue is another step closer to being realised with the appointment of City Build.
“I would like to thank our project team for its commitment, enthusiasm, transparency and attention to detail throughout which has enabled our board of trustees to make the appointment in full confidence.”
Catherine Mitchell, relationship manager at Arts Council England, added: “It is positive to see that during this unprecedented time for the arts and culture sector organisations are continuing to plan for the future.
“The expansion of Band on the Wall will not only help secure the long-term future of the venue, but also increase opportunities for local people to engage in Manchester’s rich musical culture, as well as bringing artists to the city from all over the world.”
Work is due to start on site before the end of the year and the expanded venue is scheduled to open in autumn 2021. The venue will remain closed throughout the building works, although Band on the Wall will continue to run its education programme.
Martin Berry, managing director of Manchester-based City Build, said: “We all know and love the venue and we can’t wait to get started to turn the plans on paper into reality.”