THING OF THE WEEK
BARKING MAD… This Chinese New Year will welcome the year of the dog, and what better way to celebrate than surrounding yourself with everyone’s favourite squashed-faced canines? Manchester Airport will be bringing Pugfest to Manchester on Sunday 25 February at a special event at Tribeca on Sackville Street. It promises Chinese entertainment, a “Grand Pug Dog Show”, a fortune teller for both humans and dogs, and Chinese lantern workshops. Pugs will be encourages to wear their finest Chinese and aviation-themed fancy dress, with a prize to be won for the best-dressed canine. Tickets, which went on sale on 31 January, are available for £2 with proceeds going to the French and Pug Dog Foundation, alongside other dog charities.
ITALIAN STALLION… Following on from giving Place North West a Porsche-driven tour of Liverpool, Adam Hall of architect Falconer Chester Hall is now looking overseas for his latest venture. The architect has launched a joint venture with Italian surveyor Mauro Rieti to buy and restore properties in Italy’s Le Marche region; apparently an area characterised by “gently rolling hills with fields of wheat, olives and vines.” Hall’s new venture will focus on refurbishing dilapidated properties across the region and will target North West bigwigs itching to buy a second home. Says the man himself: “You can buy a 3,000 sq ft dilapidated farmhouse set on more than half an acre for around £75,000. We’ll then design the refurbishment and the pool and terraces and manage the whole build in a single package.” So if you fancy buying a second, third, or indeed fourth home, then give Adam a ring.
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT… There’s been a bit of a social media furore over Manchester’s latest masterplan, the Portland Street Strategic Regeneration Framework. The council initially released the framework late last year under the name “Portland Street Village”, which was immediately seized on as a suggestion that the council wanted to rename the city’s famous Gay Village. However, council leader Sir Richard Leese has used his blog to nip that notion in the bud. He said the original document was released due to “an administrative error” and assured locals the Gay Village would have “an undiminished and sustainable future.” He also hinted at widening the consultation on the SRF and extending its consultation period to nearly the end of March, giving people more time to have their say on the proposals. Watch this space.
LINING UP… Here at Place we’re not usually fans of the ubiquitous “people-in-hard-hats-and-hi-vis-doing-a-thumbs-up” photo shoot, but we’re happy to make exceptions from time to time. Take yesterday’s announcement that the first piece of track had been laid on the Trafford Park line, which will eventually link the Trafford Centre to Pomona and the wider Metrolink network. Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, leader of Trafford Council, Cllr Sean Anstee, and chair of the TfGM Committee, Cllr Andrew Fender, were all looking suitably delighted in lovely orange hi-vis as they attended the track-laying ceremony. The £350m line is still around two years away from completion but progressing well. The first trams will run from the Trafford Centre to Crumpsall in 2020.
WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN… Architect Grant Erskine has released images of its proposals for what would have been Urban Splash’s proposed Tribeca development in Liverpool. The designs for a sales office would have stood on the mixed-use five-acre site, which was sold by Urban Splash to ill-fated developer North Point in 2015 for its New Chinatown project, which has since stalled. Urban Splash’s original plans for the site included 740 homes, 80,000 sq ft of offices, a hotel, and two acres of public realm. Grant Erskine says of its design: “The play on the triangular shape serves to suggest the Tribeca brand, whilst creating visual impact with shadow play, creating drama in the ever changing light and dark. The tri-plain possibilities of this volume allow interpretation of the spaces during its proposed use and adaptability for it future uses.” Whatever the proposals, it’d be a lot better than nothing, which is what the site has built on it now. However, with the council now considering a CPO to buy back the site, maybe Grant Erskine will get the opportunity to try again.