THING OF THE WEEK
FOUND SPACE REDUX… Hot on the heels of Renaker renaming its Owen Street towers as Deansgate Square, another Manchester megaproject has had a rebrand. Ask’s proposed scheme at the former Bauer Millett car showroom, formerly known as Found Space, is now known as the slightly snappier Viadux, because the project features viaducts. The £300m project, designed by SimpsonHaugh, includes 750,000 sq ft of residential, offices, and public realm. Main contractor Carillion was lined up to build it before its collapse in January, and the project has been somewhat quiet ever since. Does the rebrand signal that the scheme might be coming back to life? Watch this space…
SQUARING UP… Liverpool City Council and the Liverpool BID Company will launch a public consultation on the future of Williamson Square on Friday 23 February. The historic square, first laid out in 1745, was last upgraded in 2004 with a £6m public works package, but the council is now looking to improve the area which has become “disconnected” over the last decade. The council said the square, which lies within the city’s heritage site buffer zone, was mostly used as a through route to other areas rather than a gathering place, and added the consultation would outline how to “re-imagine the square’s potential both day and night”. The consultation will kick off with a debate at the Playhouse Theatre next Friday, and the public can submit ideas for the area to firstname.lastname@example.org.
VIRTUAL VIEWING… On the subject of squares, developer Bruntwood has released a virtual-reality tour of its office space at Circle Square in Manchester. The VR walk-through gives a glimpse of the public realm, restaurant space, reception, co-working space, and breakout rooms at the offices, which will provide 400,000 sq ft of space in total. Work has already started on site, with main contractor Sisk now clearing the site ahead of building the 14 and 17-storey offices. Designed by architect Feilden Clegg Bradley, space in the buildings will be targeted at digital and technology businesses, which makes sense given there are plenty of plaid-shirt-wearing people on display in the virtual office tour. You can have a sneak peek at all of the above here.
HOWZAT… Cricket fans rejoice: Old Trafford will host four test matches, five international T20s, and a one-day international between 2020 and 2024. The highlight of these is an Ashes test against Australia in 2023, and the home of Lancashire County Cricket Club will also host a test match against Pakistan and a T20 against Australia in 2020. There will be a test match against India and an international T20 versus Pakistan in 2021; and a T20 against India and an ODI against South Africa in 2022. After the 2023 Ashes test, there will also be a T20 international against an as-yet-unnamed international opponent, while 2024 will also host a T20 and a test, opponents again to be confirmed. If, like your author, you were present at the last Ashes test at Old Trafford in 2013 and witnessed Kevin Pietersen’s last test century in England colours, doubtless you’ll be looking forward to the programme from 2020 onwards.
TRANSATLANTIC FUNDRAISER… A campaign to raise £2.5m towards a memorial to the Battle of the Atlantic in Liverpool is heading stateside. The campaign, which has been backed by the UK’s ambassador the USA Sir Kim Darroch, will now hold events in the British Embassy in Washington, as well as consulates in Chicago, New York, Boston, and Atlanta. The monument is planned for Liverpool’s waterfront and will feature a 28m, 15-tonne merchant ship split in two, and will incorporate the existing statue of U-Boat hunter Johnnie Walker. The campaign is planning to unveil the monument in 2019, the 80th anniversary of the start of the battle and the beginning of WWII. Darroch said: “Keeping the North Atlantic open to British and American shipping is as important now as it was 75 years ago at the height of the Second World War. At that time, the North Atlantic shipping channels were a vital lifeline, without which the war could not have been won. So it is entirely fitting that a campaign should have been launched to raise the funds to build a UK memorial to the brave and selfless men and women who were wounded or sacrificed their lives in the Battle of the Atlantic.”