No 1 Circle Square tipped to house lifestyle venue

Canvas Manchester, a concept from the operators of London’s Pickle Factory and Oval Space, would feature a 100-seat restaurant, 400-capacity music and events space, and a private members club at the mixed-use scheme on Oxford Road.

The company BeSixth, submitted a planning application last week to Manchester City Council to create the community lifestyle venue at Circle Square, which is being developed by Bruntwood SciTech, the joint venture between Brunwood and fund manager Legal & General.

Under the plans, the 8,800 sq ft Canvas Manchester would have three distinctive areas – Canvas Kitchen, Canvas Club and Canvas Events.

Canvas Kitchen is a 100-seat ground-floor restaurant that would be open to the public seven days per week from 7pm to 4am. The Canvas Club is an “affordable” private members club featuring a lounge that could be accessed day and night.

The venues would be complemented by Canvas Events, a programme of live music and other events hosted in a subterranean space capable of hosting 400 people. The programme would include health and wellbeing sessions, social activism, networking events and workshops, as well as a bi-weekly club and gig programme.

The venue will occupy 8,800 sq ft across the ground and basement floors at the retail and office building No. 1 Circle Square and it is expected to open in 2021 subject to approval. Deloitte Real Estate is the planning consultant.

The team at BeSixth, founded by chair Dean James and chief executive Gavin Aldrich, has separately or collectively launched and operated venues including the Hammersmith Apollo, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Brixton Academy, G-A-Y Manchester and the Ritz Manchester.

The company currently operates nightclub The Pickle Factory and arts and events venue Oval Space, both in East London. Canvas Manchester will be its first project outside the capital.

James said: “With its people and a rich and diverse cultural scene, Manchester was always going to be the first city we said ‘yes’ to when we decided to invest outside of London, but we didn’t think we would find anything like the site at Circle Square.”

Aldrich added: “We’ll be in the heart of a thriving, city centre neighbourhood that brings together people from all walks of life – be it students, shoppers, business owners or academics.

“It’s this community that makes us confident that Circle Square will be the perfect destination to launch Canvas Manchester.”

Once complete, Circle Square will comprise 1,700 new homes, 1.2m sq ft of workspace and more than 100,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space, all centred around Symphony Park, Manchester’s newest city centre park.

Bruntwood SciTech won approval in February for the latest development at Circle Square – a £56m, 215,000 sq ft office block on a 1.2-acre plot at the former BBC site on Oxford Road.

Tom Renn, managing director at Bruntwood SciTech – Manchester, said: “Our ambition for Circle Square was always to create a destination – a place that would bring people together morning, day and night and a place that would become part of the fabric of the city.

“Canvas Manchester is [the latest] step change for Circle Square. The commitment from BeSixth to move this forward is both a nod to Manchester’s rich history and is a sign of confidence in our city’s future cultural scene.”

Canvas Manchester Founders Dean James And Gavin Aldrich, BeSixth (smaller File)

BeSixth’s founders James, left, and Aldrich


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