POO WITH A VIEW… If you’ve always dreamed of watching Aurora Borealis whilst sitting on the toilet, Norwegian architects HZA have made your fantasy a reality. The architect shared images of its recently-completed Uredd rest stop in Norway, situated on the country’s Helgelandskysten scenic route, a favourite amongst both tourists and residents. Sitting alongside benches and a lookout point, the toilet is housed in a unique wave-shaped building overlooking a fjord. The 21,500 sq ft area is supposedly one of the most scenic in the country with views of the ocean, making it one of the best places on the planet to both sit on the loo and admire the midnight sun.
FRACK OFF… This week, actress and activist Emma Thompson decided to make the trip up from her West Hampstead mansion to join anti-fracking protestors at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site. The demonstration, led by women in white clothes and organised by Greenpeace, included a 15-minute silent protest against fracking at the site, which was originally voted against by Lancashire County Council in 2015, before the local authority was overruled by the Government. Cuadrilla hopes to start fracking at the site this year, so we await with baited breath whether Thompson’s trip had an impact.
GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY… Already this year we’ve had a rebrand of Renaker’s Owen Street towers to Deansgate Square, while Ask’s Found Space has been renamed Viadux, so it’s no surprise to see McGoff Group getting in on the act. The latest phase of the developer and contractor’s Downtown project along the Irwell has undergone a transformation – or should that be transmutation? – and is now known as The Alchemy. Apparently the name reflects the phase’s proposed gold-coloured façade, which stretches over 14 storeys, rather than the McGoffs’ search for the philosopher’s stone. Either way, the apartments at the two-phase project, the first phase of which is currently under construction, are reportedly selling fast with only 75 out of 368 remaining. Alembics at the ready – The Alchemy is due to start on site at the end of this year once the first part of the project completes.
STAR TURN… News emerged this week that the University of Salford was working up plans for the former Castle Irwell student village site, which closed in 2015 after 42 years of use. There are 500 homes planned for the plot, which was once a racecourse. For those with fond memories of the area, rest assured that not all of its history will be erased – while the plans are in their early stages, inside sources have said that the former racecourse turnstiles, which are more than 100 years old, are expected to be retained. The turnstile arches are listed as local heritage assets, and were formerly expected to be demolished.
HERE COMES THE SUN… Many in the North West have fond, or not-so-fond, memories of Rhyl’s former Sun Centre, which was demolished to make way for a brand-new, £15m leisure facility. Denbighshire Council has released the first CGIs of what the indoor and outdoor waterpark will look like, including indoor and outdoor flume rides, children’s play areas, and even a bar and terrace to cater for evening events. Construction is already under way at the new facility, but up until now, it had remained nameless, with those close to the project insisting it wouldn’t be retaining its Sun Centre moniker. True enough, the council has this week announced what the new waterpark will be called: SC2. Answers on a postcard as to what that’s an acronym for. The new Sun Centre SC2 is due to open in spring 2019.
NO SPAIN NO GAIN… Having opened a new space at Liverpool ONE in October last year, pictured above, Spanish restaurant Lunya has announced plans for a new, more intimate site to open at Albert Dock in the summer. The site, called Lunyalita and described as a “baby Lunya” by owners Elaine and Peter Kinsella, will include a restaurant, bar, and deli, albeit the deli will be “much smaller” than at the restaurant’s other two sites in Manchester and at Liverpool ONE, and will be situated next to The Beatles Story and opposite the Arena. The downstairs will be for café and deli-style eating and drinking, with a more formal seated restaurant upstairs, along with a private dining room for up to 80 people. The new site is expected to create 30 new jobs and will see the Kinsellas invest £300,000 on fit-out.