Project director appointed for Manchester Town Hall refurb

Paul Candelent from Capita has been appointed project director for the proposed £330m project to restore Manchester Town Hall and Albert Square.

Candelent, who has more than 30 years of experience in the construction and property sectors, was project director for Unlocking the Rylands, the scheme to restore the grade one-listed John Rylands Library on Deansgate between 2005 and 2008.

He was also project director from 2009 to 2011 for the National Indoor BMX Arena, part of the National Cycling Centre in East Manchester, and led a team of project managers delivering the £500m, 42-acre Liverpool ONE shopping centre between 2007 and 2009.

At Capita he is currently regional director for the North and Midlands. He joined in 2014, after 14 years with Davis Langdon, an AECOM subsidiary, where he was a director in the Manchester office.

Previous council reports have said that the project director would be paid up to £140,000 each year, with a bonus payment of £50,000 on completion. The project is due to complete in 2023, so the project director could cost up to £900,000 over the period, including the bonus.

Cllr Bernard Priest, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Paul has an impressive track record in leading the successful, on-time and within budget delivery of complex and ambitious schemes. These include high profile projects right here in Manchester. His experience in overseeing the rebirth of the John Rylands, another of the city’s grade one-listed gems, is especially relevant for a project in which heritage is so important.

“We take our role as custodians of the Town Hall for current and future generations very seriously and the project director’s role will be fundamental to the success of this project.”

Candelent said: “It’s a tremendous honour to be selected as project director for this challenging and exciting project and I am looking forward to devoting myself to it. I have lived and worked in Greater Manchester for 30 years, and I know what a treasure Manchester Town Hall is and how much it means to so many people. We are determined not just to protect, repair and restore it but to improve public access so everyone can enjoy its rich heritage.”

The procurement of a design team, the architects who will be responsible for designing the detailed scheme, will conclude by the end of May followed by a process that will run from June until November to select the main contractors.

The grade one-listed Manchester Town Hall will be 140 years old this year. Details of the restoration and refurbishment are yet to be defined, but aim to retain and enhance the building as a functioning town hall, while also reducing carbon footprint and energy costs, and maximising commercial opportunities, potentially by releasing part of the building for offices.

The target date for the completion of any refurbishment, with the building fully re-occupied and functional, is 2023.

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When I saw “Capita” I was horrified, with visions of the redevelopment featuring in future issues of Private Eye for mismanagement, budget overruns and f*** ups and trebles all round.

But having read that Paul Candelent was project director for the John Rylands Library project, phew! That was beautifully done. The library is a wonderful example of how to renovate and upgrade a heritage building while bringing it into the modern age.

This appointment brings a huge sigh of relief.

By Lulu

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