Jim Ramsbottom, the regeneration expert who transformed the canal-strewn pocket of Manchester into the mixed-use district it is today, has died at the age of 81.
Ramsbottom’s development company Castlefield Estates rose to prominence in the 1990s as it introduced urban renewal to the historic industrial heartland of Castlefield Basin, close to Deansgate Locks on the edge of the city centre.
The company is now run by his daughter-in-law Sarah Ramsbottom and his son James owns the Manchester-based restaurant, bar and leisure company Elle R Leisure, which counts Dukes 92 in Castlefield in its portfolio.
Jim’s daughter Sarah McDermott is a past director of Castlefield Estates and now heads up real estate investor Isterco Associates, among other companies.
Born in Salford in 1939, Jim Ramsbottom started to invest in the Castlefield conservation area in 1982 with the first construction works taking place from 1990 and the first building to be completed being the Eastgate offices on Castle Street.
James Ramsbottom said: “The whole family is extremely sad at the loss of Jim. He was first and foremost a family man who will be much missed.
“He was passionate about urban regeneration and the preservation of Manchester’s industrial heritage. Hopefully the work he did in Castlefield provides a legacy to this vision.”
Tributes for Ramsbottom poured in on social media over the weekend, with the region’s property industry lamenting the passing of “the architect of Castlefield’s renewal”.
Local property and architecture writer Philip Griffin tweeted: “A great Salfordian has passed, and all of Manchester is poorer. Jim Ramsbottom died last night.
“The bookmaker who backed Castlefield and kickstarted urban renewal made the greatest individual contribution. One hand in waistband, one on fag, mane of silver hair atop quick mind. Gone.”
Matt Pickering, associate principal of architecture studio CallisonRTKL, wrote: “I never met the man but Manchester wouldn’t be the place it is now without him. Thanks from all the hospitality industry, party people, architects, designers etc who you forged a future for.”
And Deloitte Manchester planning partner Simon Bedford tweeted: “The architect of Castlefield’s renewal – a true visionary and he was kind enough to lend me Dukes 92 to celebrate my 30th birthday. RIP.”