A rooftop extension, providing further grade A office accommodation, also features under the plans. Credit: via 5plus Architects

Pair of projects planned for Manchester’s Piccadilly 

Thackeray wants to refurbish and extend an office building, while Legal & General has submitted an application to improve the pavilion that runs adjacent to Piccadilly Gardens. 

Last October, Manchester City Council launched a £25m competition for the redesign of Piccadilly Gardens. L&G and Thackeray’s schemes aim to contribute to the overall improvement of the area and adhere to the council’s vision of creating a “special place with a strong sense of identity, welcoming and uniquely Mancunian”. 

7-9 Piccadilly 

7 9 Piccadilly, Thackeray 4, P.5plus

Plans call for an active frontage onto Back Piccadilly. Credit: via 5plus

Developer: Thackeray Investments 

Planner: Barton Willmore 

Architect: 5plus Architects 

Having consulted on the proposals late last year, Thackeray has lodged an application to convert unused space on the upper floors of the three-storey building into 43,000 sq ft of offices. 

The ground floor retail space, currently occupied by Superdrug and Greggs, will be retained. 

A rooftop extension, providing further grade A office accommodation, also features under the plans.  

The building has been designed to be energy efficient and sustainable with a BREEAM rating of ‘Very Good’.  

In addition, the redeveloped building will have a roof terrace, while an active frontage onto Back Piccadilly will also be created. This will include the introduction of planting and improved public realm, part of a plan to create a green link between Piccadilly Gardens and the Northern Quarter. 

Buro Happold and Mode are also advising on the scheme. 

Piccadilly Gardens Pavilion 

Pavilion, Piccadilly Gardens, P.planning Docs

The plans include an art installation. Credit: via planning documents

Developer: Legal & General  

Planner: Savills 

Architect: Space Invader 

The developer, which also owns the neighbouring One Piccadilly office block, wants to revamp the pavilion building that runs along the southern edge of the gardens. 

The main part of the proposal would see the roof connecting the two parts of the pavilion, designed by Tadao Ando, removed to create two separate buildings. 

An art installation to “enliven the southern elevation” of the pavilion, also features within the plans. 

The scheme aims to create better permeability, and make access to the gardens more visible and inclusive, according to a planning statement by Savills. 

The freestanding wall element of the pavilion was demolished in 2020.

Your Comments

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All this is terribly mediocre.

By John

That Piccadilly Gardens Pavilion revamp is so naff. If Legal & General really cared about the Gardens and Mancunians then they would be looking to get rid of this or green walling it, as well as demolishing or heavily redeveloping One Piccadilly Gardens, which is such an eyesore too.

The Gardens can’t make serious progress without the above.

7-9 Piccadilly is good. Wish there was more ornamentation to match the Rylands which they have referenced in their design statements.

By Byronic

The problem with the gardens is not the lay out but the people it currently attracts. It could look like Regents Park and it would still look like a dump. It needs repopulating, not redesigning.

By Elephant

If they can’t properly redevelop the Piccadilly Gardens Pavilion then just turn it into a green wall.

As for Piccadilly One – demolish it. How was this allowed to be built in the first place? An absolute disgrace.

By Stuart

Please just remove the wall. The lighting will need to be maintained and when light fittings fail / bulbs go, how quickly will they be repaired? This is something we see all over the country. It will age so quickly. More ambition needed.

By Anonymous

What most Mancunians want is a return of the gardens they were beautiful an oasis for shoppers and office workers to sit down and admire the flowers we don’t want concrete and food markets the area is a disgrace at the moment as for Saturdays I just wouldn’t walk through them as it’s full of protestors so it’s difficult to walk through

By Julie

Agree with previous comments. One Picc Gardens should be raised and the ‘pavilion’ wall should fall.

By 1981

Here’s my suggestion inspired by Seville – put a big temporary roof over Piccadilly Gardens, something architecturally impressive like the Millennium Dome, so the space can be used all year round without getting soaked. Create units for some fabulous food and drink operators and bring the place back into use as a leisure space. Altrincham Market on a grand scale.

By Richard Williams

The council needs to seriously try making Manchester Piccadilly gardens a destination where people actually come and enjoy. Things such as perhaps a daily light show? Or maybe a light show on the weekends. But it could be anything not necessarily a light show but something entertaining and wow.

We need to improve the area by adding more designs and art, adding more nature, flowers etc to make it look beautiful. We could try adding new restaurants with outdoor seating, maybe more nicer shops around. This would definitely help improve the look as it would invite nicer crowds to the area and less of the “bad” crowd.

By Anonymous

‘Art Installation’ done by who? Some generic design done in-house with no consultation to create something interesting.

By CityCentre

Can we have pragmatic suggestions please?

The pavilion can’t be demolished because there is a long lease on it.

The ugly orange brick office building, One Piccadilly Gardens can’t be demolished because somebody owns it and it’s an asset worth many multi-millions of pounds. Agreed though that the design is completely alien and it jarrs uncomfortably with almost every other building in the area.

You can’t easily put a green wall on the pavilion because who will maintain it?

Given this situation, the decoration and removal of ghee roof of the pavilion doesn’t look too bad. I only hope L&G are contributing to the cost and it’s not all falling to the public purse to improve the area around their buildings.

By Pragmatist

Wow, this puts us in the big league of cities. We’re going to get international recognition with that one. People will be coming from far and wide to see these concrete walls

By John

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