The initial phase of Ask Property Developments' £500m First Street scheme in Manchester has achieved practical completion this week, with Sainsbury's and Pizza Express confirmed as tenants on the site.
Sainsbury's has taken a 4,000 sq ft unit and Pizza Express a 3,000 sq ft unit.
Scheme construction has been led by main contractor Carillion, with Wates Construction responsible for HOME, Greater Manchester Arts Centre's new base. HOME is due to open over the late May bank holiday weekend.
Designed by Mecanoo, HOME received £5m from Arts Council England Lottery funding and support from the Garfield Weston Foundation and The Granada Foundation.
The Melia INNSIDE hotel designed by SimpsonHaugh & Partners is now open, providing a 208-bedroom, four-star hotel and European tapas restaurant called Street on First. A 279-room Vita luxury student accommodation scheme by 5plus Architects, a 700-space Q-Park multi-storey car park, the 180,000 sq ft Number One First Street office and nine retail, leisure and food units fronting a public square also occupy the site.
Alongside Sainsbury's and Pizza Express, further leisure and retail operators are due to be announced in the coming weeks.
Some have suggested that the plot is over-developed and cramped, with the blank red facade of the INNSIDE hotel next to the train line also proving unpopular with critics.
The next phase of development across First Street consists of a 157,000 sq ft office building with 40,000 sq ft pre-let to Gazprom. Construction is due to start towards the end of this year.
John Hughes, Ask's managing director, said: "Achieving practical completion is a milestone which the whole team can be very proud to reach. Ask and Manchester City Council had an ambitious vision to deliver a new neighbourhood for the southern side of the city and the realisation of that vision is the development of this world-class cultural and business quarter.
"The fact that such prominent firms have chosen Number One First Street as the ideal place to re-locate their business underlines the high standard of this scheme. With the launch of both the new Melia INNSIDE Hotel and Q-Park, as well as the strength of retail enquiries, it really is shaping up to become the best space to work, live and play in the city."