New First Street vision launched at MIPIM

Manchester City Council and Ask Developments announced a new vision for the undeveloped site in the city centre at the property convention in Cannes, France.

Ken Knott, Ask Developments' chief executive, outlined the development timetable for delivery of investment set to transform First Street over the next two years and beyond.

Ask is committed to the 20 acre gateway site, anchored by new retail and leisure uses, and a up to 1.25m sq ft of a new office product.

First Street cultural quarterThe developer and council said the focal point of the new cultural quarter will be a new 50,000 sq ft building, currently the subject of an international design competition, with outdoor performance space and new public square.

Ask and the council said the platform will establish a new leisure and retailing development to complement the Number One office building which currently houses 1,400 council staff and the customer service centre.

The new cultural quarter will connect to public transport links and following areas:

  • To the east, the scientific/academic capacity in the Oxford Road Corridor
  • To the north, the Bridgewater Hall, Barbirolli Square, Manchester Central and conferencing and hotels
  • To the west, a creative quarter, with businesses including architects, designers and marketing agencies

First Street's cultural quarter is expected to open in summer 2014 and anchor the northern end of First Street and connect to Oxford Road rail station, the conference quarter and Deansgate locks.

Bars, restaurants, boutique hotels and independent retail are also planned around the cultural quarter.

A 250,000 sq ft building in from Princess Parkway and Manchester Airport will act as a gateway anchor at the southern end of First Street, up against Mancunian Way.

The building will provide retail, a hotel, car parking, and office suites.

A Premier Inn across the road is rumoured to be lined up to be the hotel operator, which will free up the current site for development.

Sat between the north/south destinations, Ask and the council said there will be six separate sites for new buildings from 30,000 sq ft up to 350,000 sq ft.

The office product will be five or six storeys in height, opening up the city centre market to a wide range of occupiers.

The first phase, Number One First Street, already frames the southern half of the site, providing Grade A floor space.

Manchester City Council occupies 140,000 sq ft and will remain at First Street during the three-year £175m refurbishment of Manchester's town hall complex.

The council and Ask said First Street Manchester will be an 18m wide, 300m long boulevard connecting the community of Hulme through the Mancunian Way to the Hacienda site on Whitworth Street West.

Knott said: "A landmark new cultural hub with associated leisure and amenity retailing to augment the Number One building, its outstanding public realm and public art, will transform people's perception of this location.

"Our commitment to create a genuine destination will dramatically increase the appeal of First Street to commercial office occupiers. We have plans for up to 1.25m sq ft of office floor space and I am extremely confident that the pace of delivering that floorspace will accelerate significantly."

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‘Bars, restaurants, boutique hotels and independent retail are also planned around the cultural quarter.’ So they are going to basically replicate what the Northern Quarter already is in shiny new buildings. Looks a bit like development for developments sake. Whatever happens please, please, please do not call it the cultural quarter.

By joe bloggs

MCC are apparently chucking in £20m to assist the development. That’s about 20% of the cost cutting measures announced earlier this week! Its about time MCC got its priorities right, rather than subsidising commercial developers.

By Andy T

could not agree more after the debacle of chimney pot park why is public money going to make private profit?

By Jon smee

Completely agree again. Who is this aimed at, not any impoverished artist or independant retailer they might like to claim. The money they have already spent on branding the Northern Quarter as the cultural and creative quarter just to start new efforts elsewhere. I cant think of a better way of wasting public money…

By HenryJ