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Piccadilly Gardens: first look at start of new project to make the area ‘more welcoming’

Artist’s impressions give a first glimpse of how the gardens in Manchester city centre will be transformed.

The first phase of plans to redevelop Piccadilly Gardens has been revealed.

The plans, which will complement a wider £25m investment to revamp the public space, would see the concrete pavillion split into two separate sections.

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The canopy would be removed and the two restaurants would be refurbished.

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

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

Plans to redevelop Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester. Credit: LGIMRA

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

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

“We are pleased to be moving these plans forward and to be engaging with local artists to start to create a public space that Manchester can be proud of.”

Work to rejuvenate the site started in 2020 when part of Tadao Ando’s much-maligned modernist structure – dubbed ‘the Berlin Wall’ – was torn down.

But the local authority has long harboured ambitions to redevelop the areas around the Gardens in a project which it had said could cost around £10m.

Plans to redevelop Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester. Credit: LGIMRA.

This planning application precedes broader plans being brought forward by Manchester City Council to transform Piccadilly Gardens and the surrounding area.

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

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

What’s the vision?

Manchester City Council leader Bev Craig said: “Piccadilly Gardens is a busy and important place in the heart of our city, but we know that there’s considerable scope to improve it.

“We want to transform Piccadilly Gardens into an outstanding 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 forthcoming major scheme to do that 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 in the first phase of the development has been designed by SpaceInvader Design and Mancunian artist Lazerian, together with lighting specialist Artin.