An ambitious masterplan for a new 'gateway quarter' in the Piccadilly area of Manchester could enable the city to benefit from the HS2 rail link long before it is due to be completed in 2032.
The scheme would centre around a new HS2 terminal, with a new entrance plaza replacing the existing facade of Piccadilly station.
A report to the executive of Manchester City Council, which will meet on Wednesday 11 September, states: "HS2 should become the catalyst for turning Piccadilly into the kind of iconic gateway that HS1 has made at St Pancras.
"This would mean benefits to Greater Manchester beyond the impact of HS2 and the capacity it frees up on business to business and labour market connectivity.
"A significant proportion of these additional place shaping, gateway and broader branding benefits can be accelerated by bringing forward the station enhancements.
"Critical will be the agreement of a specification for a suitably iconic and future proofed Piccadilly station, including improved interchange with other transport modes."
Drawings produced by Bennetts Associates Architects reveal how the new HS2 terminal at Piccadilly might be built along the lines of the St Pancras Eurostar terminal in London's King's Cross.
With an estimated "10 figure value", the HS2 Manchester Piccadilly Strategic Regeneration Framework envisages the development of a 140-acre area providing 14.4m sq ft of new floorspace, including 6.7m sq ft of commercial, 4.3m sq ft of residential and 1m sq ft of retail and leisure facilities.
Key components include:
- A highly visible, redesigned and reinvigorated arrival space at the front of Piccadilly Station
- A new civic space to the north of the HS2 station concourse
- A new public park connecting Mayfield Park and the Medlock Valley
A number of new neighbourhoods with strong individual identities are proposed. These are:
- Piccadilly North – reinstating the historic street pattern
- East Village – mixed-used development with residential focus around canal basins
- Piccadilly Central – an area of large office developments around public squares and high-rise residential towers framing a new city park
- Mayfield – a new mixed-use city quarter on the banks of the remediated River
- Medlock – a development based around the historic river
- Links to the North Campus, the old UMIST campus off Sackville Street, and The Corridor area
The scheme would include thousands of new homes.
The council is reported to be in negotiations with a number of private landlords whose properties would be affected by the scheme, which could start within three years.
Properties in the area which might be affected include the controversial London Road Fire Station, which Manchester City Council has already unsuccessfully attempted to compulsorily purchase from owner Britannia Hotels. Britannia is still to keep its promise to renovate the hotel.
Another property understood to be within the area of the masterplan is Gateway House, which has planning permission for a hotel but does not feature in the proposed scheme.
The scheme would be funded through a combination of public and private money.