Work starts at £90m First Street North regeneration site

Simon Donohue

Work is now underway on a £90m scheme to transform First Street North, one of Manchester's most significant regeneration sites.

Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese; John Hughes, managing director of Ask Property Developments; HOME chair of trustees Jim Forrester and HOME chief executive Dave Moutrey visited the site to inspect progress.

They were joined by Tony Shenton, business unit director for Wates Construction North West, which is leading on the construction of HOME.

HOME, the £25m new cultural venue which is due to open in spring 2015, is starting to take shape at the heart of First Street North, just off Whitworth Street where it will be the cultural anchor of this major new mixed-use development. The architect for Home is Mecanoo.

The product of a merger between the Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre Company, it will boast facilities including a 500-seat theatre, a 150-seat flexible studio space, five cinema screens, a gallery space, digital production & broadcast facilities and a cafe bar and restaurant.

Construction is also underway on the other elements of the 2.2-acre First Street North site, which includes a 208-bed hotel to be operated by Melia International Hotels for their Innside brand – the first in the UK, 279 luxury apartments aimed at international students, eight new restaurants/cafe units and a 700-space multi-storey car park. There will also be a new public square. Ian Simpson Architects has designed the Innside hotel.

First Street North is the first phase of the £500m First Street regeneration project covering 20 acres in total and being brought forward by Ask Property Developments, the council's development partner for the project.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: "First Street North is gaining real momentum as a magnet for investment and job creation. We've been talking for some time about the huge potential of this site but it's no longer an abstract, there is now real physical evidence of its future as a vibrant addition to Manchester city centre. It's great to see the vision starting to take shape."

John Hughes, managing director of Ask Property Developments, said: "The First Street North development will create a truly exciting new place in Manchester city centre. We have no doubt that the combination of HOME, the Melia Innside hotel, extensive car parking provision, restaurants and cafes will be the catalyst for First Street to fulfil its potential."

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Are these the schemes Mecanoo and Ian Simpson Architects are bringing forward?

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