AN Oast House is not the usual type of addition Manchester is used to seeing from City Centre developments. Which is exactly why Mike Ingall, CEO of Allied London and developer of Spinningfields, thought it would be the perfect a piece of the jigsaw to complete The Avenue, the estate’s main retail quarter.
It took a tri-umvirate of key decision makers to bring the concept to life. Along with Mike, who first came up with the idea after seeing the Merz Barn in an exhibition at the Royal Academy, is Tim Bacon, Founder and CEO of Living Ventures and operator of the Oast House, and Paul Danson of Paul Danson Imagineering, former film set designer and architect for the scheme. The Oast House has been built to look as if it has been there for hundreds of years
Mike Ingall said; “Not everybody understood or agreed with what we were trying to do with The Oast House. But within five minutes of coming to my office, Tim Bacon got it. Paul and I had this vision but, to make it successful as an operation it needs a real entrepreneurial leisure operator to run it.”
“Sat with an empty and quite unsightly plot of land, I came up with a three-pronged strategy, which involved creating a proper event and entertainment space on The Avenue, anchored by a unique leisure and retail experience as well as a new shopping street cutting through Manchester House, to link the development up to the House of Fraser and King Street. Now everything links up and every route leads somewhere. This new phase will take Spinningfields to the next level in terms of its offering. I firmly believe that we are beginning to see that we have created a distinct, mixed-use, multi-functional and dynamic destination unlike any other in Manchester.”
The inspiration for the design of both the interior and exterior of The Oast House has come from all over the world. From The Grand in Cape Town and La Fruitière in Val D’Isere to surf shacks in Provence, The Oast House is a combination of weird and wonderful pieces of furniture, all with their own history and story to tell.
Paul Danson said; “Mike wanted a building that people could relate to and provide a real contrast to the current set of buildings in Spinningfields. It needed to be a place people could get a pint of ale, listen to music or watch theatre. Every piece of material needed to build The Oast House, and every piece of furniture inside has been thoroughly researched. Most of it has been sourced from Ireland, I saw the roof on a farm and went and knocked on the door to ask the farmer if he would sell it to me! We wanted authenticity and I believe we have achieved that. One person even congratulated me on refurbishing the building, they believed it had been there for years!”
To one side of The Oast House is an amphitheatre-shaped event space which will help drive footfall to the area and bring a vibrancy to The Avenue.
Mike said; “The Oast House and the event space will help turn The Avenue in to a real destination. We have a lot of plans for the events area, including a fashion Pop-up village, retail kiosks, mini fashion shows and even a miniature dog show. We’ve enjoyed a lot of success with Screenfields and the events in Hardman Square and the plan is to match that success on The Avenue.”
Tim Bacon said; “Living Ventures and Allied London have a successful partnership because we share the same vision. The Oast House will be our fourth venue within Spinningfields and we can’t wait to get started. We’re offering something unique in the city, and it’s not often you’re able to say that. With the triangle of Australasia, The Alchemist and the Oast House on The Avenue, we’re set for a busy time of it!”
For more images check out the launch night pictures here
Check out the website here: theoasthouse.uk.com