Manchester City Council is pushing ahead with plans to revamp the covered walkway connecting Portland Street with Piccadilly Gardens, while LDA Design waits for sign-off to regenerate the rest of the city centre green space.
Mark Graham, director at the landscape architect, said he “fully supported” the walkway plans, which are intended to improve the connectivity of the gardens.
The walkway runs under fund manager Legal & General Investment Management’s One Piccadilly office building, which falls within the LGIM Real Assets portfolio. However, the city council owns the frontage of the office block facing onto Piccadilly Gardens and is therefore leading on the scheme.
A spokesperson for LGIM said: “As long term pension investors, we are conscious of our responsibility to improve the built environment for future generations, and therefore, with both our own and surrounding schemes, we will continue to work closely with local stakeholders, including the council, to support wider regeneration of the area.”
Consultancy Space Invader Design has designed the walkway scheme, which would see the installation of a hanging lighting structure among other elements.
The 164,000 sq ft One Piccadilly, designed by Allies & Morrison, was built in 2004 by Carillion.
The six-storey block is occupied by JLL, BNY Mellon and others. Two suites totalling 43,000 sq ft on the third and fourth floors are being marketed by JLL at a quoting rent of £30/sq ft.
The ground floor is occupied by restaurants including Shoryu Ramen, Barburrito and Ask Italian.
LGIM, which bought the office block from Europa Capital for £75m in 2014, owns several assets around Piccadilly Gardens, including Japanese architect Tadao Ando’s concrete pavilion.
In March, the council progressed plans to demolish the free-standing part of Ando’s pavilion as part of the ongoing project to regenerate the gardens, led by LDA Design.
The landscape architect has drawn up three potential designs for Piccadilly Gardens and is awaiting the go-ahead from the council to start progressing one of those designs.
Graham told Place North West public spaces need to be of the highest quality “now more than ever”, and confirmed that the designs are being discussed by the council’s leadership team.
He added that he expected to meet with the council over “the next couple of months” to advance the plans but that the Covid-19 pandemic had slowed the decision making process.
LDA was the landscape architect behind an earlier proposal from leaseholder LGIM Real Estate to regenerate Piccadilly Gardens, first proposed in 2017.
The proposed £2m overhaul was popular with the public but was not progressed due to challenges around funding.