Strangeways here we come
Manchester College looks to have finally plumped for UX at the former Boddingtons brewery site for its city centre campus, which instinctively feels like a better fit than either Circle Square or Mayfield. As much as the city’s talking up the Northern Gateway, it’s still grittier than the other locations, and you get the sense the high-flying targets of those other developments might not see spotty teenagers as their perfect next door neighbours. Should the deal come off it represents another big result for Realty Estates and Yousef Tishbi, a man who’s gone his own way and got great results at the Lazy S and the BBC site before now. Unsurprisingly, rumours already abound that the project may be sold on before spades get in the ground. It’s all about timing.
Paint a picture
Macclesfield’s Picturedrome seems such a logical place for Nick Johnson’s next food hall project it’s a wonder it hasn’t somehow just happened already. The market is in for planning and has only attracted a couple of objections, so looks like a shoo-in. As to the effect it will have on Macc centre, it’s worth keeping an eye on how Trafford Council get on with Altrincham’s 81,000 sq ft Grafton Centre – will food operators be attracted in, or scared off? Will some of the market operators be tempted to trade up? Alty Market has done brilliantly, but as other locations get their own, the longer distance fans might disappear.
Does the publication of a Strategic Regeneration Framework for Great Ducie Street signal a different, post-Bernstein direction for Manchester? The SRF stresses that “the city council will not take lightly landowners who stall and sit on their sites, in expectation that they will achieve a sale price which means that council objectives cannot be met.” The desire for a more mixed neighbourhood, with some manufacturing, a mix of scale, a European feel is what UK cities often say they want, before policy documents say another thing altogether. A worthy goal, and if it comes off it probably justifies the current move to corral the city’s monster towers together around Great Jackson Street at the far end of Deansgate.
A grand old scheme to play for
Not only is there positivity around Everton on-pitch, things are coming together off it. The Toffees have followed up on moving 160 staff into the Royal Liver Building, which owner Farhad Moshiri bought with Corestate for just shy of £50m in 2017, with the appointment of a stadium development director in the wonderfully named Colin Chong. Even hard-bitten cynics who went through the Kings Dock and Kirkby sagas are now thinking “hang on, this move is actually happening”. The news that Heritage Great Britain are on board for a “word class visitor attraction” at Liver lends further weight to the thought that Everton are getting things right –which is lucky, as the Red side continues to impress too. Still, we’re a way off Merseyside dominating as it did in the mid-1980s, so Stan Boardman might not have to clear his diary for every Cup final day just yet.
Ask me, ask me, ask me
How public do public consultations need to be? The plans for a stonking 31-storey tower on Manchester’s Swan Street by a joint venture featuring Britannia, Sir Robert McAlpine, Prime Developers and Foundation Real Estate were this month given the briefest lead-in, with hacks receiving info a few hours ahead of an exhibition – cynics might say Friday afternoons in August are a good way to keep things quiet, too. As increasingly tall as this part of town is, 31 floors is still likely to attract attention and punters might want a butcher’s. That said, another recent scheme was only highlighted to journalists the week after the public were “invited” in – a box ticked though.