SAFARI SO GOODY… To the roof of the last major building to be delivered in Spinningfields for a topping out ceremony with developer Allied London and contractor BAM Construct. In reflective mood, Allied boss Michael Ingall recalled the completion of the massive 3 Hardman Square some years earlier in Spinningfields’ history, when he took some of the top brass from the construction company for that building, Bovis Lend Lease, to Zambia for four days’ safari action. Ingall added that the world changed dramatically after that building completed and while he looks forward to celebrating with some of the staff from BAM, it’s more likely to be a trip to Scarborough or Blackpool this time round. BAM director Tony Grindrod could be overheard saying “I hope not” afterwards. No jokes about the standard of wild animals to be spotted in our coastal resorts please. No.1 Spinningfields is due to complete in July.
SPOT THE DIFFERENCE… The news earlier this week that prolific planning consultancy How had hired a new partner was accompanied by a Reservoir Dogs-esque photo, illustrating the full line-up of the firm’s leadership team. An eagle-eyed Place reader was quick to point out the shot might look familiar, to the epic street-walking style demonstrated by Manchester investment agency Christopher Dee. We wish more photos of new hires took inspiration from Quentin Tarantino films. Pulp Fiction or Kill Bill next?
VIRGIN TERRITORY… An eye-catching office letting at the £150m St Paul’s Square in Liverpool. Not another law firm to join Hill Dickinson and DWF in one of the three big office blocks. No, it involves intrepid commercial property agents Mark Worthington and Andrew Owen who have made a 1,500 sq ft retail unit their own, becoming the first occupiers of the space, on the ground floor of No.3 St Paul’s Square, the timber-clad apartments-cum-multi-storey-car-park, since it was finished 10 years ago. THING hasn’t had the pleasure of visiting WO Towers yet but our spies sent us this image and it all looks very swish and cool, smartening up a previously vacant corner of the square. Sometimes you have to wait until the next cycle to finish the job. Just don’t expect to be able to buy a copy of the Echo if you pop in on your way to the station.
SIMULATION STATION… Transport for Greater Manchester has taken a hi-tech approach to training tram drivers ahead of the opening of the long-awaited Second City Crossing on Sunday. With all the dazed and confused tourists hitting the streets, particularly along Cross Street and the route up Market Street presenting some serious pedestrian targets, let’s hope the drivers have had some actual track experience too…
PERFECT TIMING… BDP’s transport starchitect Peter Jenkins must have been chuffed when he realised his big boss from Japan – BDP was bought by Japanese engineering group Nippon Koei last year – would be in town on the same day as his beloved bridge arch for Network Rail’s £320m Ordsall Chord rail link was due to be lifted into place. Nippon Koei bosses were able to swing by the site for a quick tour in the morning before their formal itinerary with council leaders got underway. Nippon Koei is keen to grow its infrastructure workload through BDP in the UK. It’s nice when a plan comes together.
LUNCH HOBBY… We’re fans of Yin Yan, the pop-up yoga studio founded in Liverpool by dapper former Downing surveyor-turned-yogi Robin Ellis. Yin Yan runs classes on floors in vacant offices, so staff can attend to all their Zen needs in lunchtimes and after work. Or so we thought. From Zen to “Hadouken!”, Ellis has enlisted a former teacher of Olympians to deliver Taekwondo lunchtime taster sessions. No need to change, but “bring a photo of your boss/ex if you need some extra motivation”. Check out http://www.yinyan.co.uk/classes.html
SIGN O’ THE TIMES… Within days of the slowly imploding Co-operative Bank announcing it was putting itself up for sale, it added to the gloom by closing its flagship branch, which customers could enjoy on the ground floor of 1 Balloon Street, the bank’s headquarters and registered office, in Manchester city centre. Instead, the bank has reopened at 70-72 Cross Street a couple of hundred metres away. The home city’s key branch is no longer part of hefty head office, but decamped to a corner shop. Counter staff said the big old branch was unwieldy and not in keeping with modern online banking needs. Quite.
ANDRE PREVIN PROPERTIES #2… Last week we reported on Goodwin Developments’ tribute to Eric Morecambe at Grove House in Old Trafford. Since publication, neat little white notices displaying all the right numbers, necessarily in the right order, have appeared on the hoist cages. Never let it be said that journalism is powerless to change the world.