The Co-operative Group unveils vision for Manchester gateway

27 May 2009

A vision which will transform the northern part of Manchester’s city centre, securing the city’s place as a 21st century leader in sustainable development, has been endorsed by Manchester City Council’s Executive.

The Co-operative Group’s Regeneration framework for its landmark 20-acre site close to Victoria Station, is designed to unlock the area’s social and commercial potential and will deliver new office space, retail facilities, homes and major open space. The development will show how the Group’s commitment to high ethical standards will deliver value and provide “an inspiring European benchmark” for responsible and sustainable development.  It will also act as a major catalyst to further investment, regeneration and job creation in the area.

The Co-operative Group has worked closely with Manchester City Council to produce a consultation document for the scheme, which sets out the vision to transform this area of the city.

Key features include:

  • A 400,000 sq ft gross (320,000 sq ft net) anchor building for the Group’s new head office, due to open in 2012 as the first phase of the scheme and setting new standards in environmental performance.
  • Mixed use premises with the potential to provide up to 15,000 jobs.
  • An integrated energy system aiming to provide 100 per cent of development’s heat and power needs from renewable sources.
  • 4.5 acres of public open space.
  • Heavy emphasis on green transport with the aim of making cycling, walking and public transport the preferred options.
  • Careful integration of the site’s historic features, which include listed buildings and the remains of the historic Arkwright’s Mill.
  • A sustainable drainage system ensuring water is stored and recycled as needed.

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council said: “We want to celebrate the contribution the Co-operative Movement has made to this city and to see an even more successful Co-operative Group based here.This site is a key piece in the jigsaw of our plans for the northern part of the city centre. It will act as a catalyst for further investment over the next decade. The development of the Co-operative complex represents one of the most exciting regeneration opportunities in the region and will deliver social, economic and environmental benefits on a scale rarely experienced. These plans will reconnect this are with the core of the city centre and surrounding communities, delivering real benefits including a very significant number of jobs.”

Above: Artist's impression

Peter Marks, Group Chief Executive of The Co-operative Group said that, as the UK’s leading ethical retailer, the Group was committed to bringing high standards and high values to the task of unlocking the site’s social, commercial and sustainable potential.

“Our plans are ambitious and achievable,” he explained.  “Working in partnership with Manchester City Council, we can transform this important area into a new and instantly recognisable quarter that will attract new business, retail and residential users as well as greatly enhancing the public space which leads into the city centre.

“In line with our values, we will be working closely with local residents and communities to ensure that the scheme is developed in a way which will enhance their own lives, while delivering value, economic benefit and environmental improvement.”

The 20-acre site will complement other developments emerging in the area known as City Centre North, between Manchester’s Northern Quarter and Salford.  These include the redevelopment of the former Boddington’s site, the ongoing Green Quarter projects and the redevelopment of Victoria Station and the Ramada Hotel complex.

Last week, The Co-operative Group announced details of its new headquarters building