Piccadilly Gardens transformation begins with work on pavilion that houses Bunsik and Blank Street Coffee

The redesign of the divisive area has been given a £25million budget by the council.
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Work to transform Piccadilly Gardens' concrete pavilion structure is due to begin on Monday.

Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM), working with Manchester City Council, have stated that they will start splitting the pavilion into two separate parts from January 29. This will be done by removing the concrete canopy and adding new lighting around its perimeter.

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The redevelopment is designed to complement the council’s wider ambition to transform Piccadilly Gardens and the surrounding area. The area’s redesign has been given a £25m budget by the council. The latest update on that came at the end of July, when the council announced LDA Design had won a competition to produce the designs for the new space.

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

Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Police are supportive of the pavilion’s development but do not believe it will solve the area’s problems around addiction, homelessness, and anti-social behaviour. However, GMP said in a letter of support for the proposal that removal of the roof of the Pavilion, to allow natural light and create a more open thoroughfare, “will reduce the opportunity and means to commit crime and anti-social behaviour”.

As part of the plans, Bunsik and the newly opened Blank Street Coffee within the structure will also be refurbished. The pavilion sits at the edge of the Piccadilly Gardens site and acts as a gateway between the green public space of the Gardens and the transport interchange. 

You can see all the food being prepared as you wait at Bunsik, Piccadilly Gardens. You can see all the food being prepared as you wait at Bunsik, Piccadilly Gardens.
You can see all the food being prepared as you wait at Bunsik, Piccadilly Gardens.

Coun Bev Craig, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Piccadilly Gardens is a prominent location which we want to become an outstanding public space for residents and visitors alike. Later this year we look forward to sharing with the public our significant plans to transform the Gardens and the surrounding area. In the meantime, it’s great to see this scheme – which will complement the wider plans – begin on site as the first stage in the transformation of the Gardens.” 

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A design team has been appointed by the council to draw up detailed plans for public consultation and a planning application will follow later this year.  Alongside the change to the pavilion, a feature art installation comprising metal, glass and LED lighting designed by SpaceInvader Design and Mancunian artist Lazerian, with lighting specialist Artin will be completed by end of June 2024. The art installation will feature thread like lines and holes in a nod to Manchester’s cotton industry.

Rob Codling, Senior Fund Manager for LGIM, said: “We are pleased to begin work on the site and hope that we achieve our combined aim with Manchester City Council in making the space a more enjoyable place for residents and visitors to the city.”