Stephenson Studio Proposed Hotel
Property Alliance's proposed hotel - the first piece in the Portland Street jigsaw?

Manchester launches Portland Street SRF

Manchester City Council’s executive will next week be asked to endorse a draft strategic regeneration framework for the Portland Street area, which would trigger public consultation into its indicative plans.

The framework sets out the context and opportunity for the area in the rectangle between Portland Street, Chorlton Street, Bloom Street and Abingdon Street, with Sackville Street running through the cenrre south-east from Portland Street.

The document sets out the city’s ambition to introduce new commercially-led development with associated uses that complement the surrounding areas. Effectively, this area is the link between the Gay Village and Chinatown, and the council wants to improve it further as more development comes on stream in the areas around those long-established areas – Kampus being one example. Priorities include more active frontages and improved public realm.

There are only four sites within the area, but each are of significant size, with major implications for existing occupiers and the wider city.

Site 1 is where Property Alliance Group is developing a 329-bedroom, 17-storey hotel, on the site of what was 55 Portland Street. Marshalls is already onsite, with the project set for completion in 2019. A further hotel is earmarked for the site following PAG’s scheme.

Site 2 is the plot mostly occupied by Bruntwood’s Manchester One office tower, with the Yates’ Wine Lodge pub and the ramp to the NCP car park also included. Manchester One will be retained, with the ramp removed to facilitate new retail and leisure space. A new building and associated public realm is proposed at the corner of Chorlton Street and Portland Street.

Site 3 includes the coach station at ground level, and four storeys of parking above. There is also a pub, the Thompson Arms, at the junction of Sackville Street and Major Street.

This site could deliver new commercial or residential led, mixed use development, complemented by ground floor leisure and retail units and a proposed community use facility, potentially a medical centre.

Site 4 is bound by Bloom Street, Major Street, Abingdon Street and Sackville Street and is mostly surface parking, being used for Pride and other events throughout the year. The New York New York pub sits within the rectangle, but is classed as outside the SRF area. Site 4 is proposed as the location for a new multi-storey car park, potentially with rooftop gardens. It would feature retail, restaurant and community space over several levels, with the report suggesting  up to 22,000 sq ft of community uses over various floors.

The report, from the city council’s strategic director of development Eddie Smith, stresses that “all indicative proposals will be subject to dialogue and consultation with existing businesses and other stakeholders within the SRF area, to ensure that it responds, where possible, to their requirements”.

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Very interesting. I am sure the Village Business Association will be up in arms about the proposed new multi-storey car park, as this will mean that Pride and the main stage area will have to move to a new location. it’s about time it moved out of the village anyway but they won’t be happy about it!!

By Steve

This had better not result in the loss of the Thompson Arms! It may be a dive, but its a much loved institution. Gentrification has seen the loss of many of Londons LGBT venues, and it’s becoming all the culturally poorer as a result. We’re better than that!!

By Say what?!?!

Once again we are seeing the gentrification of the Gay Village, it has killed the London Gay Scene and now Manchester. Provision has to be made for Manchester Pride to still be held as close to the Gay Village as possible.

By Tony

It is a shame – suppose some call it progress. But we need these pubs and places – that’s what makes the city and an area and gives it a uniqueness! But yes sadly there will be loss of such pubs/or a treasured area for this ‘progress’ I imagine. There has been so much loss of fantastic little pubs around Manchester City centre. And cities throughout. When these are the very venues and locations that make these areas so special!

By Russell Bolton

The village needs some gentrification. The ‘gay’ village died years ago and needs some serious investment. The nearest possible places for Pride to move to is either Platt Fields Park or Heaton Park. Everyone can still pile in to the village afterwards, so the likes of Tracy from New York’s will still cash in heavily like they do every year. It’s worked in Brighton for decades so I’m sure it can work in Manchester. The car park development is Phase 4 according to the article, so it won’t affect Pride for years to come

By Steve

I agree that the coach station should crash and burn, it’s an ugly blot on the city. However can’t we think of something more imaginative for the current surface car park?

Some kind of decent public realm space is needed here, ideally half of it could be a pocket park or a square, this area is in need of total pedestrianisation.

By Aaron

@Steve – you might say the gay village died years ago, but some of us go out there most weeks and would beg to differ! It’s an important part of the city for many of us and this shouldn’t be underestimated. This doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be progress, full pedestrianisation and the creation of a square or larger public space within the village would help existing venues and events, as well as providing new opportunities, but care should be taken not to lose the soul from this important part of Manchesters social fabric.

By Say what?!?!

Bloom Street in the gay village is the joint 15th most crime-ridden street in England and Wales. An appalling state of affairs when it was really a pretty safe area 25 years ago. The sort of incidents that happen every weekend now would have prompted a protest outside the town hall then. Someone was hit over the head with a concrete slab not long ago. Nothing has been done beyond cosmetic sticking plaster solutions.

Some would say the area has been in decline for 25 years. A mid-1990s programme called Village Voices that you can view on YouTube has people voicing their concerns about the influx of non LGBT people. But the businesses were keen to attract that other 94% of the population under the guise of inclusion.

Pride has been unlawfully closing the public pavements since 2003 and a ruling by the Local Government Ombudsman in 2015 about it and confirming it as unlawful means that their current business model is unviable. Only a news blackout has saved their skins so far.

The mayhem needs to be reigned in. This development could solve many of the problems.

By Rob

Rob.The increase in tacky hen nights has caused this problem with crime.The Gay Village is a homophobic hellhole now.The Northern Quarter is much friendlier.The proprietors have sold out to the lowest common denominator and now the once Bohemian village is like Blackpool on a bad night.As for Pride having no main stage area.This is what happens MCC when you do not have a large centrally located park in a city centre.Plattfields and Heaton are too far away to be utilised for events.Whitworth park is the best bet but even that is not that close to the village.You are not going to attract big names if they have nowhere to play.

By Elephant

I prefer Leeds pride, it’s free and less tacky.

The issue with Hen do’s comes down to the fact that Manchester has no dedicated nightlife area, no Ropewalks or Matthew Street designed to soak up the binge drinkers from Newcastle, so they end up in the Village or the NQ. The bars themselves don’t help as some are designed for this purpose.

By KGV

You mean Leeds Pride is free? No Pride comes close to Manchester. Comparing Leeds Pride to Manchester is like comparing Alice Springs with Sydney.

By Elephant

Skockholm’s is good and Berlin too, if they exist they are good, oh New York brillant.

By What do I care?

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