Seemingly everywhere you look in Manchester you’ll see a bunch of cranes and a flurry of blokes wearing high-viz vests and eating bacon butties.
There’s so many developments going on throughout the city and further afield that it can be a job unto itself just to keep track of what’s going to be finished and when. Well, that’s where we come in – as you should expect all of these to complete this year, creating new buildings, neighbourhoods and public spaces for us all to enjoy.
Mayfield’s Public Park
Work began on the city’s first park in 100 years back in 2019, and when you drive past the spot at Mayfield whilst on the Mancunian Way you can see that they’ve done some serious work on the area. Sandwiched between the overpass and Escape to Freight Island, the new 6.5 acre public park should finally open this year, part of a huge re-development of the area that includes 1,500 new homes, office space, the re-development of Temperance Street, shops and a 650-bed hotel.
The Re-Invention of Piccadilly Gardens
November 2020 saw the dreaded Berlin Wall get knocked down in Piccadilly Gardens, just a tiny part of the council’s well overdue re-invention of the scratty square. A public consultation on the plans for the gardens took place all the way back at the beginning of 2020, with councillors approving a £2m improvement project in August. So we should (finally) see some big changes in 2022, with better lighting, raised grassed areas, new planting, the creation of a children’s play area, replacement of existing street furniture, and the transformation of the Pavilion Wall.
London Road Fire Station
The last 30 years haven’t been too nice to the stunning Fire Station on London Road, with the Britannia Hotel group just letting it rot for decades and then refusing to sell it for development back. It’s been wrangled back though and work has been extensive since 2018, with plans to finish in 2020 put back due to COVID. Hopefully 2022 will be the year it finally opens with a 91-room hotel, some significant retail and restaurant space as well as an underground events space.
The Band on the Wall Extension
The iconic music venue suffered greatly during the COVID-19 pandemic as live music and events ground to a standstill and they were faced with their ‘biggest crisis’ in history and forced to close and make staff redundant. They’ll be rising out of the flames of the pandemic in 2022 though with a huge new expansion, and that scaffolding that’s been up for nearly four decades – well, it’s coming down!
English Cities Funs – Salford Central
Salford’s Chapel Street is in the middle of a £1bn investment set to transform 50 acres of the city’s civic and historic centre into a brand-new neighbourhood and mixed-use destination. One of the latest additions to the area is Atelier, home to 167 contemporary 1, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments plus 11 new 3-bedroom townhouses complete with your own front door, garden and secure parking.
Allied London have taken over a huge, iconic site with the Old Granada Building, but with a track record that includes the nearby Spinningfields – you can be assured that they know exactly what they’re doing. There’s already been a spate of openings in the area, including the Everyman Cinema and Northern Flower on Quay Street, but 2022 will certainly see plenty more openings too. There’s the 200 bed hotel, flexible working spaces, retail and studio units, and not forgetting – Manchester’s new Soho House! Lots to look forward to down this end of town this year then.
The First Light Pavilion at Jodrell Bank
COVID -19 set the construction of this new visitor attraction at Jodrell Bank back a bit but it’s still pencilled in to be finished in the latter half of 2021. The centrepiece of the project is the First Light Pavilion, a stunning new building set on the Jodrell Bank gardens and home to a new gallery, an immersive projection space, auditorium and new education hub.
The Re-development of the Rylands Building
The Rylands Building is actually the very impressive building that once housed Debenhams at the top of Market Street, and 2022 should see this iconic spot totally transformed. The intention is to turn the ground floor into a retail and leisure space – essentially creating a new city centre ‘arcade’, while up top they’re going to add a new 4-storey extension to the roof, including a Winter Garden on the 6th floor. There’s also plans to demolish a large part of the building to create a huge atrium – filling the building with some much needed natural light.
There’s been loads of umming and ahhing over Stevenson Square over the years, and 2022 should finally see it completely transformed into a pedestrian and cyclists dream. The plans are to create a newly formed public square with cycle and walking routes passing though. Expect places for people to sit and relax too when it’s all finally complete.
The Renaissance Hotel
This long-forgotten set of Brutalist buildings at the end of Deansgate are set to be totally transformed in 2022 thanks to Property Alliance Group and Starwood Capital’s £200m redevelopment. It’ll include loads of apartments, rooftop terraces, workspaces, retail and leisure units and most exciting of all – a ‘Treehouse’ hotel complete with tree trunks in the bathrooms, nature-inspired bedrooms and loads more eccentric touches.
Named after the rather odd statue of Abraham Lincoln that has stood here for years, the £4m overhaul of Lincoln Square should finally be completed in 2022, creating a new ‘Peace Garden’ in the neglected plaza. The surrounding businesses have all invested in the re-development, in the hope that the former run-down area becomes “a place to spend time in its own right”. The space will see trees planted from the seeds of a Ginkgo tree damaged in the Hiroshima nuclear bomb that regrew the following year, intended to represent ‘the regeneration after the disaster, and of peace’.
This huge development over on Oxford Road has heard the clanging of hammers for the past few years now, and it’s something like 95% finished. Businesses have already started moving in but 2022 should be the year that we see this area become a proper neighbourhood as more bars, restaurants and events spaces begin to open and they start to utilise the large public space right in the centre – Symphony Park.
Oldham’s Egyptian Rooms
Announced as the final phase of the development of Oldham’s Grade-I listed historic Town Hall, the Egyptian Rooms should be completed this year, a food hall style development which will see six casual dining food and drink offerings, set around a stunning central dining space and outdoor seating on the new Parliament Square.
Urmston’s new market hall concept has been through the wars a bit during development, however just before Christmas planning permission for their newly re-designed modular building was granted, which should see work begin in early 2022 with an eventual opening hopefully in the tail end of the year.
Eden Project North
The team behind Eden Project in Cornwall are currently constructing a northern post of the project up in Lancashire and it should hopefully be done by the end of the year. Opening in Morecambe, and looking to bring the seaside resort right into the 21st Century, Eden Project North will deliver “‘significant economic, environmental and social benefits for the wider north-west region” and be a “key driver of the UK’s post-Covid green recovery”. Around one million visitors are projected to head to the project yearly – so hopefully they can do that. I’m sure they will.