Contractor Carillion will begin work this month on public realm improvements in the Greengate area of Salford, although commercial development remains some way off.
The 32-acre site near Manchester Cathedral is reserved for a £450m mixed-use development by Ask Developments, Network Rail, assisted by Salford City Council and urban regeneration company Central Salford and partly funded by the Homes & Communities Agency, North West Development Agency and European Regional Development Fund.
The public realm will include a new footbridge linking Manchester and Salford, three architectural sculptures, 36 coloured water fountains and an open green space. The public realm was designed by Leeds-based landscape architects Whitelaw Turkington and Arup's.
An open day is to be held to update residents and businesses in Salford on plans for the area. The public are invited to view the plans at The Premier Inn, Deansgate on Wednesday 24 November. There will be a staffed exhibition stand from 7am until 10am and 12pm to 2pm and between 5pm and 7pm.
Nik Puttnam, senior development manager at Central Salford, said: "The Greengate area is a vital part of the continued regeneration of Salford as it acts as a key link between Salford and Manchester. The project will completely transform Greengate into a welcoming area, where people can live, work and play. The open day will be a great opportunity to share and chat through the plans with the public."
Carillion is aiming for completion in April 2012.
Meanwhile, Ask is waiting for the market to improve to unlock development of its commercial project.