Posted by Will Lewis

Posted 17 June, 2014 After Work

4There’s something a foot down Quay Street, and it’s nothing less, in our view, than one of those periodic shifts of Manchester’s social tectonic plates. Every few years, the combined forces of the city leadership’s progressive development and the natives’ restless demand for reinvention and something new sees a different part of the city leap forward as the place to be – whether it’s in nightlife, restaurants, business space, or a combination. What you might call “having a moment”. What makes Manchester such a great, inspiring place to live and work is that it’s constantly changing. There’s revolution and there’s evolution.

Is Quay Street currently the most exciting part of Manchester? We think it is and we’re not the only ones.  Thom Hetherington, media commentator and curator of major arts Capture 2and food events, is just one who has used exactly that term.

Quay House, a building Thom has used to showcase his Buy Art Fair exhibition, is to be transformed into No 1 Spinningfields, a building Allied London’s Michael Ingall has declared his intention to make “the most desirable office building in the UK’. This will not so much bookend Spinningfields, but act as a fulcrum between that area and what’s going on over the road, where 13 acres of city centre land are undergoing transformation.

The decamping of Coronation Street out to MediaCity represents nothing less than the ideal opportunity to reclaim a theoretically-loved part of the city into one that is actually “of” the city and used by it, in time becoming as integral a part of it as the Northern Quarter, Market Street or King Street. Granada Studios has long been an asset, but one behind big walls, only really knowable to those in the media. That’s all changed.

CaptureEvent space? There’s 140,000 sq ft of flexible space to play with here. It’s a visitor attraction – the Corrie Tour launched in April 2014 (and what could be more Mancunian than Corrie?). A busy programme of ‘urban markets’ is up and running, with street food operators and input from Vintage Village, the award-winning promoter of vintage markets. The World Cup will see a fan park created, harnessing the simple joy and unifying force that sport can offer in a truly international city. This place is alive.

You can work here too. There’s a unique blend of buildings that will form part of Allied London’s Hello project, from the magnificent Bonded Warehouse through the Hello House and HQ building to 88-100 Quay Street, the former Globe & Simpson building. Already we have seen a surge of interest from forward-thinking enterprises wanting to be part of this innovation district.  New workspace occupiers are already working away from the space formerly filled by ITV.  With Albert Shed, there’s also an element here in the story of Manchester’s ongoing reclaiming of its riverfront. Trinity Bridge started this, and Spinningfields took it on, with the footbridge opened in 2012 a key moment.  The Ordsall Chord is coming and Salford Station will soon be transformed to handle 10 times more passengers. This is the next chapter.

It isn’t every day you get the chance to play a part in a redrawing of Manchester’s cultural boundaries, bringing into the life of the city something that was always cherished but slightly unknown. That’s why Old Granada Studios excites us –