Piccadilly Gardens: First look at the launch of a new £25million project to make the area ‘more welcoming’

The artists’ impressions give a first glimpse of how Manchester’s city center gardens will be transformed.

The first phase of Piccadilly Gardens redevelopment plans have been revealed.

The plans which are part of a wider £25million investment to revamp public space would see the concrete pavilion split into two separate sections.

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The glass roof would be removed and the two restaurants would be renovated.

A new art installation made of metal, glass and LED lighting on the walls is said to feature wire-like lines and holes, a nod to Manchester’s cotton industry.

New lighting would also be added around the perimeter of the pavilion.

Redevelopment plans for Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester. 1 credit

A planning application for this phase of the redevelopment has now been submitted by Legal & General Investment Management Real Assets (LGIMRA) – the company that bought the North Tower of Deansgate Square two years ago.

Senior fund manager Rob Codling said: “This project creates a great opportunity to increase the accessibility of Piccadilly Gardens and make time spent there a more enjoyable experience for residents and visitors to the city.

“We are delighted to move these plans forward and to engage with local artists to begin creating a public space that Manchester can be proud of.”

Work to rejuvenate the site began in 2020 when part of Tadao Ando’s much-maligned modernist structure – dubbed “the Berlin Wall” – was demolished.

But the local authority has long harbored ambitions to redevelop the areas around the gardens in a project it says could cost around £10million.

Redevelopment plans for Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester. Credit: LGIMRA.

This planning application precedes wider plans presented by Manchester City Council to transform Piccadilly Gardens and its surroundings.

The council launched the first phase of an international design competition in October 2021 and is now shortlisting urban and landscape design teams.

The wider regeneration plan now has an estimated budget of around £25million.

What is the view?

Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Piccadilly Gardens is a busy and important place in the heart of our city, but we know there is considerable scope for improvement.

“We want to transform Piccadilly Gardens into an exceptional public space – welcoming, family-friendly and capable of hosting a wide range of events.

Coun Bev Craig, who has been appointed leader of Manchester City Council

“We are working on a major upcoming project to achieve this, but these proposed improvements, like the previous demolition of the freestanding part of the wall, promise to be a real step in the right direction.”

The art installation for the first phase of the development was designed by SpaceInvader Design and Mancunian artist Lazerian, in collaboration with lighting specialist Artin.

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