Site visit: Inside Media City UK

Place was part of a guided tour of the rapidly emerging first phase of Media City UK, around 12 acres of commercial, academic, residential and public space in The Quays, Salford.

Galleries below

Here are some of the highlights and development updates from last week's tour:

  • The studio blocks – shown in red green and blue in the images below – will be ready for testing at the end of September. The margin for error in the flatness of the floor, even before a liquid resin finish is put down, is 1.5mm over three straight metres. Three months of testing the studios will include running ball bearings across the floor to see if their paths deviate, a straight line means a level floor.

The new bridge can be seen lying to the west side of the Imperial War Museum North. It will be pulled into place by crawler cranes not yet on site and positioned on the permanent circular base on which it will turn to allow ships through. The bridge will touch down between the two waterside BBC buildings facing the war museum.

  • Media City's own gas-powered trigeneration energy plant producing cooling, heating and electricity has been officially commissioned and is working fine. The plant uses canal water from the Manchester Ship Canal for cooling and heat dispersal. Facilities manager Cofely, a long-standing supplier to Peel, will man the site 24 hours a day. The plant is more than twice as efficient as conventional grid electricity and helped Media City gain BREEAM sustainable community status along with transport, ecology and other factors.

Peel is in talks with the BBC over supplying its power. The BBC wanted autonomy and has its own supply from the national grid, unlike other tenants and residents on Media City, who get theirs from Peel's centralised plant.

  • Architects are currently looking at options for opening up the Pie Factory offices to be more accessible from the rest of phase one when it opens next year, looking at options such as installing bars and restaurants on the sides facing the new-build.

Wind turbines on Scout Moor wind-farm, developed by Peel, were visible from the residential apartments, as was the Trafford Centre, another Peel asset, from the other side of the same apartment.

  • A large public screen is still planned to go in front of the studio block but will not be commissioned until tenants arrive in 2011 and give their views on which technology to use. The foundations for the large screen are in place and it will be a freestanding structure in front of the studios, to be viewed from the five-acre public square.

The Holiday Inn gets the keys to the new hotel on 24 September; the sign is already visible on the outside of the building.

  • The Salford University media school building, distinguishable by its criss-cross pattern on the outside, will be handed over for fit-out at the end of the year.

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