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Imagined Manchester: Coffee Shops On Car Parks

Jonathan Schofield starts an occasional series in which Confidential dreams dreams

Written by . Published on July 26th 2013.


Imagined Manchester: Coffee Shops On Car Parks
 

LET'S dream dreams, imagine our city in other ways than the present reality. Dreams, of course, can be long or short, complex or simple, serious or stupid, they can - if Doctor Freud is involved - tell you odd things about the relationship between you and your parents. Or maybe you and your city. Still we're going to dream dreams of schemes in Em Cee Are. And we're starting this occasional series in the sky on top of carparks.

We all have our quirks.

I love taking lifts or stairs to the top of Manchester's multi-storey car parks. I love the big skies and the alternative views of the city.

As an idea for a 'found space' coffee shop the idea could have legs. Long legs from which you get a cracking view as the pictures below show.

This started with a passion for hill-walking but in Manchester city centre our natural bumps and lumps seldom merit descriptions beyond the word 'hillock' or 'slope'. Some of our steepest rises are manmade, approaches to railway stations, piles of brick supporting artificially elevated transport systems. 

So to keep the artificial theme but to take me higher, it's carparks when I want elevation and air and the Pennines standing tall in the distance.

Shudehill looking north westShudehill looking north west

One time while musing on Shudehill Transport Interchange as the sun elegantly tumbled to the west it struck me that this would be a sublime place for a good coffee shop.

Tables and chairs spread about, snacks, soft drinks, tea, caffeine and views that span almost 360 degrees. An urban Arthur's Seat. Shudehill Transport Interchange even has toilets in the bus station below. Not the most pleasant perhaps but present all the same.

So why not put in a temporary coffee shop to perhaps coincide with an event such as Manchester International Festival, or simply install one over the month of August every year? I'd ascend to sample the delights.

We asked NCP whether they'd consider this.

They are considering it. Of course they'd have to talk to the owner of the building, in Shudehill Transport Interchange's case this would be Manchester City Council, but as an idea for a 'found space' coffee shop the idea could have legs.

Long legs from which you get a cracking view - as the pictures below show.

One last point. The coffee shop wouldn't have a problem with car parking. 

AND to add to the above we now have a quote from NCP that's a bit carrot and stick but still encouraging - maybe.

Sean Fenney, business manager at NCP commented: 

(The Carrot)

‘We love the appreciation for great views from the top levels of our car parks. NCP is always open to ideas and would be more than happy to discuss the idea of a pop up coffee shop on our site.  We would willingly meet with companies that are looking to do this and discuss it over a large cappuccino.

(The Stick)

However, whilst we appreciate the views from our city car parks, NCP does not encourage people up onto the roof with camera equipment. The top levels of our car parks are extremely high and we do not want to risk danger to any of our customers.’

(Confidential Advice)

Don't lean over. The edge. 

Most of pictures were taken by Jonathan Smith.

Shudehill and the CIS TowerShudehill and the CIS Tower

Shudehill - room for cafeineShudehill - room for cafeine

Shudehill - looking into the Northern QuarterShudehill - looking into the Northern Quarter

Shudehill looking westShudehill looking west

 

Shudehill with winter snow on the PenninesShudehill with winter snow on the Pennines

Shudehill and the Northern QuarterShudehill and the Northern Quarter

 

King Street West looking past House of Fraser up King StreetKing Street West looking past House of Fraser up King Street

King Street West to BeethamKing Street West to Beetham

King Street West across the Square With No Name to the Civil Justice CentreKing Street West across the Square With No Name to the Civil Justice Centre

King Street West looking towards the Town HallKing Street West looking towards the Town Hall

Oxford Street looking north eastOxford Street looking north east

 

Oxford Street looking towards the Baroque tower of St James' Building 1913Oxford Street looking towards the Baroque tower of St James' Building 1913

Oxford Road looking southOxford Road looking south

Oxford Street looking towards the Palace Theatre and HotelOxford Street looking towards the Palace Theatre and Hotel

Oxford Street looking north westOxford Street looking north west

 

 

On the top deck of Whitworth Street car parkOn the top deck of Whitworth Street car park

Whitworth Street looking eastWhitworth Street looking east

View of detail on Bridgewater House from Whitworth Street of the Lloyds Packing Warehouses built just over a century agoView of detail on Bridgewater House from Whitworth Street of the former Lloyds Packing Warehouses built just over a century ago

Charles Street looking westCharles Street looking west

Trains on the track from Charles StreetTrains on the track from Charles Street

Trains on the track from Charles Street - againTrains on the track from Charles Street - again

Whitworth Street with the Refuge Assurance like a ship in full sailWhitworth Street with the Refuge Assurance like a ship in full sail

The Dancehouse on Oxford Road from Whitworth StreetThe Dancehouse on Oxford Road from Whitworth Street

Chorlton Street more than enough room for a coffee shopChorlton Street more than enough room for a coffee shop

Chorlton Street looking south west down Bloom StreetChorlton Street looking south west down Bloom Street

Chorlton Street looking south westChorlton Street looking south west

Chorlton Street and the Town Hall towers, both of themChorlton Street and the Town Hall towers, both of them

Chorlton Street and Lutyen's Midland Bank (now Jamie's Italian) in the distanceChorlton Street and Lutyen's Midland Bank (now Jamie's Italian) in the distance

Brian Fell's metal abseilers from Chorlton StreetBrian Fell's metal abseilers from Chorlton Street

Up on the Arndale CentreUp on the Manchester Arndale Centre

Arndale Centre to AfflecksManchester Arndale Centre to Afflecks

Arndale Centre and the Market Street/High Street junctionManchester Arndale Centre and the Market Street/High Street junction

Manchester Arndale's staff room for mannequinsManchester Arndale's staff room for mannequins

Shudehill car park views. Can you spot the Imperial War Museum North?Shudehill car park views. Can you spot the Imperial War Museum North?

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here @JonathSchofield or connect via Google+

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Adam PrinceJuly 26th 2013.

Fabulous idea. Roof gardens and rooftop parks would be excellent too!

AnonymousJuly 26th 2013.

I love the idea but the demand would be weather-dependent. We've had a great spell of sunshine these past few weeks but you'd have to have a structure which was sturdy enough to withstand strong winds and prolonged rain. Maybe get Almost Famous to do the word of mouth marketing.

MarzkidJuly 30th 2013.

Sounds like you've been inspired by Frank's Café in Peckham, 'That' London, Uber cool rooftop on the wrong side of the tracks! It's all been done before.

AnonymousJuly 31st 2013.

Was talk The Midland was going to reinstate the roof space..Nothing since???

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