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REVEALED: New City Centre Square For MCR

The Cooperative district (NOMA) opens up to the public

Written by . Published on February 24th 2015.

REVEALED: New City Centre Square For MCR

FOR ALL THOSE cravers of more public space in Manchester good news. Tucked away in the Cooperative district (aka NOMA) the second phase of public realm has broken ground.

City squares slow things down, they help a city breathe. This will add appeal to an area of the city that has been assiduously all very dour Coop to this point in time

Here's the press release.

'The new development will create a public square between the iconic CIS Tower, New Century House and Hanover, providing a safe and welcoming space that promises a mix of cafés, restaurants, bars and shops nestled amongst the characterful buildings of the NOMA listed estate.  It is due to be completed by September 2015.

'The project, supported by the European Regional Development Fund, has been designed by Manchester-based architects Planit-IE, and contractors Casey are on-site undertaking initial construction works.

'The public realm is the first of a number of construction projects to begin on site at NOMA in 2015.  

'Under the new joint venture partnership between Hermes Investment Management and The Co-operative Group, Manchester’s businesses, residents and visitors can look forward to seeing significant change to this city centre neighbourhood as office, retail, leisure and residential development plans gather pace this year.'

Ed Lister, Managing Partner at Planit-IE said: “This is a once in a generation opportunity to create a new city square right in the heart of Manchester. A forgotten space is being transformed into vibrant public realm, with animated streetscapes reinforcing wider routes across the city centre. A place for all, connecting new development and The Co-operative’s architectural legacy as it is brought into fresh use.”' 

Here's a 2013 fly-through showing the new square.

This press release is welcome news, the more interconnectivity between and through city centre areas restores a sense of balance to a walk through Manchester. City squares slow things down, they help a city breathe. This will add appeal to an area of the city that has been very much dour Coop to this point in time. 

Lister's enthusiasm is admirable too but he's a little wide of the mark with his 'once in a generation line' as Confidential can think of at least six new city centre squares within the 20-25 year period of 'a generation'. 

As an aside this is a lovely time of year for property news. With MIPIM  - the annual property conference and exhibition in Cannes - approaching lots of exciting plans are being revealed all around the city. We like it. 

Hi-viz jacket picture of the week


Hi-viz jacket picture of the week

(L-R): John Luddington, Construction Project Manager, NOMA ; Kevin Redhead, Principal Landscape Architect, Planit-IE ; Martyn Hulme, Board Director, NOMA (GP) Ltd ; Graham Lang, Site Manager, The Casey Group Ltd.

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51 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousFebruary 24th 2015.

Ahhh more grass and flowers...no wait... more concrete....

10 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan Schofield - editorFebruary 24th 2015.

Dear dear me Anon, you clearly have no idea what the difference between a square and a park or garden is. North of NOMA is Angel Meadow Park, south is Cathedral Gardens which have grass and trees. A square might have the odd tree but it is different. Right here's the thing I'm going to delete every negative comment on this article unless its intelligent and well-argued.

AlexFebruary 24th 2015.

In other towns and cities across the world public squares have grass, trees and bushes, as well as benches and places for people to pass through. Yes they do have a different character to parks or gardens (often marked by fences). But no Jonathan your views about Manchester's current preferred design materials should not mean that you delete anyone's comments that are suggesting 'another way'!

AnonymousFebruary 24th 2015.

Ok JS, I hope it doesn't get used by skateboarders?

JoanFebruary 24th 2015.

Place de la Concorde, Piazza Navona, Piazza San Marco. Not a blade. Piazza Navona did have better ice cream though.

Jonathan Schofield - editorFebruary 24th 2015.

Name some examples Alex? Trees yes, small flower beds around said trees maybe, but grass? Feet kill lawns. And by the way I think what Manchester has to do is maintain its public gardens better and beautify them more, not mix up the essential difference between a square and a garden.

AnonymousFebruary 24th 2015.

Piccadilly Gardens should have well designed, beautiful hard paving as well. The grass is a mess, it's simply not up to the footfall in the area. More trees need to be planted to provide green. And a proper fountain would be good not what is there at the moment, not working and collecting litter.

AnonymousFebruary 24th 2015.

It worked brilliantly in Albert Square, is shaping up well in St Peter's Sq and would work in Piccadilly Gardens.

AnonymousFebruary 24th 2015.

Can we make sure wood is not used please eg. Wooden benches? Could we also have a general ban on wood being used as cladding material in the city? It is never maintained and always ends up looking sht.

MichaelFebruary 24th 2015.

How about that Joan - a ban on wood cladding and street furniture?

espoirMarch 10th 2015.

I agree about Piccadilly, it would be better flagged as an open event space for markets, concerts, exhibitions etc. keeping the statues and trees of course

DanFebruary 24th 2015.

I had the displeasure of working for the group and was perplexed to discover that NOMA doesn't actually mean/stand for anything. It's just a rather crap attempt at generating a catchy name for the area liked NOHO or DUMBO. NOMA- North Of Manchester Arndale?

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 24th 2015.

Its for NOrth MAnchester. If you worked for them and didn't pick this up you can bet they weren't sorry when you left.

AnonymousFebruary 24th 2015.

* Insert Nelson Muntz picture here *

Ed GlinertFebruary 24th 2015.

The rather daft name for the area is NOMA53 which stands for North of Manchester area, the 53 referring to Manchester's latitude - 53 degrees North.

DarrenFebruary 24th 2015.

I like the look of this. It seems this part of town is changing and changing for the better. From the refurbished Corn Exchange to the refurbished Victoria Station to NOMA and all the new landscaping in between. There's a few empty building in this area of the city I've wanted to see redeveloped for years. Hopefully with all this work going on it will become viable to bring them back into use.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 24th 2015.

Finally a nice positive, non-moany comment! Totally agree, I like the look of it too and it's nice to see this part of town getting a much needed facelift - for those that don't like it...; bugger off and don't go there - how does it affect you, really?? It doesn't - so basically STFU and stop being negative

MichaelFebruary 24th 2015.

There's a difference between being critical and being negative though. Some criticism is good. Agree the plans looks nice but really we need to wait until it's finished.

Jonathan Schofield - editorFebruary 24th 2015.

Michael, exactly, criticism is fine. Angry negativism is ridiculous. And dull. So...off with its head.

AnonymousFebruary 24th 2015.

I like the look of it as well. It will provide a nice link between Exchange Square and Angel Square.

AnonymousFebruary 24th 2015.

It's going to show off some of the attractive neglected buildings in the area.

AnonymousFebruary 24th 2015.

If that's the piece of land sandwiched between Mayes Street, Redfern Street, Hanover Street and Corporation Street; then it's going to need something to increase the footfall in the area to make the square used. Currently, that area is solely used by Coop staff moving between offices - though it would make an excellent, if dimly lit, lunching area. Far more exciting are the proposals for the car park to the east of the CIS Tower, between Riga Street; and the one opposite, to the south east of 1 Angel Square.

CoryBFebruary 24th 2015.

I personally think its going to be a huge improvement on the area, encourage more walking traffic which will bring more businesses and people to that side of town. I love the fact we have a city you can walk through safely and quickly with the majority of areas just a short distance away. There's a lot of cities where you just can't. That Co-operative Wholesale Society building is going to look fantastic if they stick to those plans!

Burt CodeineFebruary 24th 2015.

I think the landscaping around the COOP HQ (Noma if you must) is pretty good - like the landscaping around Media City. Hard landscaping/paving mixed with 'flourishes' as per the above two can work really well. Piccadilly Gardens is ruined for a generation...I predict 'Sunley Tower' will be demolished and a long park linking to Chinatown in the longer term...

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 24th 2015.

This is a splendid idea. Grass over the whole of the land between Victoria's statue and New York Street. I would raze the whole of Piccadilly Plaza to the ground and make that space in to a proper park.

AnonymousFebruary 24th 2015.

This development will be a huge improvement for this area of the city. Many of the older 'heritage' CWS buildings are really impressive and the plans for refurbishment look excellent. I just hope the momentum is maintained in terms of the whole development. I seem to recall that a hotel (Indigo?) was due to be built by now (the tall round structure shown in the video near the entrance of Victoria station) but nothing seems to be happening yet.....

AnonymousFebruary 24th 2015.

Why don't we relocate Cromwell's statue there. That will stop our Southern royal family visiting once every ten years if nothing else.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
crisbyFebruary 25th 2015.

Cracking idea! Though it could also go back now to where it originally was, facing the Cathedral.

AnonymousFebruary 27th 2015.

I'm not a Republican but I'd like to see Cromwell returned to the city centre. Though I have it at the back of my mind that the Irish community in the city weren't happy with him being there. He's a controversial figure across the water.

Manci DoodleFebruary 25th 2015.

If Mcr increased its public realm ten fold it would be as good to walk around as Liverpool or Newcastle/Gateshead. To compete with London the factor would need to be what? Hundred fold? This is a tiny step in the right direction.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
rinkydinkFebruary 25th 2015.

Liverpool (I've never been to Newcastle) may in places look newer and tidier. However it remains largely quite bleak and depressing and rather small. It also doesn't have the any "street-feel" like Manchester does. Why people keep comparing Manchester to Liverpool is beyond me. They're completely different and poles apart as far as street/bar/popular culture are concerned, rate of development, growth of population and forward thinking. Look at what's happening with devolution. Liverpool trails yet again and copies Manchester's model

crisbyFebruary 25th 2015.

I agree with you Rinkydink. Much of Liverpool's public realm is actually quite tatty, but it has the unique asset of the Mersey waterfront. (The Tyne similar, albeit on a different scale.) Manchester will never compete with that. Neither will it ever compete with the heritage and dosh of the capital. It mystifies me why people keep wishing Manchester was like somewhere else. Much better to celebrate what it is and work with that? Starting with Piccadilly Gardens one hopes ...

Mark FullerFebruary 25th 2015.

Manchester is undergoing a period of rapid change, upheaval and a transition towards being a major International city, generating more wealth,innovation and creativity, and being less beholden to Westminster/Whitehall. Despite the inevitable fears that many will have during such a time, it is undeniably an exciting time to be connected with Manchester. As Rinkydink states, Manchester{with a push from the fiendishly clever and scheming George Osborne}, is becoming a leader and trailblazer once again.Once Manchester rekindles it's mojo, the impact will be felt in neighbouring Liverpool, the North West region and beyond. Even though the present Labour administration are a mixed bag, I believe that talented people will be drawn into local politics when the Manchester region attains more autonomy in the near future.

Jonathan Schofield - editorFebruary 25th 2015.

Liverpool and Newcastle are different from Manchester. Remember if you go to a city as a tourist then you see it as a guest not with the insight of a resident. You leave quickly and don't live it. I love both Liverpool and Newcastle but their virtues are more obvious - particularly a waterfront. I would say my guests adore Manchester on my tours because the nooks and crannies come laced with the spice of a truly significant city. As Phil Griffin said to me quoting someone else, the name of whom I forget, 'look more closely'.

Carole HughesFebruary 25th 2015.

Manchester has become a concrete jungle - and most of these so-called modern designs have become eye-sores - Piccadilly gardens being the biggest ball-up ever! That useless Wall - what a monstrosity that is!!! We need our cities to have pleasant gardens and grassy areas - not concrete or useless slabs of "architecture" Manchester has lost much of its character visually - on a Monday all these "areas" are filthy and dirty with takeaway leftovers and containers. The real sadness is that these areas look OK when they are "new" but it does not take long for the novelty to wear off - and for the thoughtless humans who have no respect for anything to litter them with their rubbish; and how long before all these areas are covered in chewing gum???!!! Another area which will have no drainage, no camber, no kerbs - so seasonally it will be a hot slab in summer (approx 14 days!) a pond or frozen lake for the rest of the year! i have watched the changing face of Manchester for over 20 years - not all the changes have been for the better and the best Manchester ever was for cleanliness, pretty places and a generally beautiful city to walk in was the year we held the Commonwealth Games - for a whole two weeks Manchester was truly beautiful - such a shame it did not last longer than 2 weeks - we need more wildlife spaces - more trees - and more people to treat our City with respect! end of rant - with apologies <3

7 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan Schofield - editorFebruary 25th 2015.

Carole, as a tour guide since 1996 and as a walker of the city centre from the mid-eighties to now, I say this. From All Saints, via Castlefield and Spinningfields to Victoria from New Cross via Ancoats, Piccadilly and zigzagging though St Peter's Square back to All Saints this city right now has never been so interesting bright and open to walk across. The Cooperative Quarter's changes add an extra northern city centre dimension. I don't want endless flower beds and lawns in a Chester/York preserved in vinegar city centre, I want people and yes occasionally mess, and I definitely want the rough with the smooth. Manchester would be hideous as a 'nice' monoculture, it wouldn't feel like a city. We are living in an exciting moment.

Reader XxxFebruary 25th 2015.

Well Said Carole! JS, please listen to comments like Carole's. I have lived in Tib Street for 16 years And have seen Many changes in the City Centre; unfortunately for the worse. There's never been more smoke, pollito on from buses & taxis. I actívely travel out daily to purify myself as There are no decent parks/Green spaces nearby...

rinkydinkFebruary 25th 2015.

Isn't there a park around the corner at New Islington?

AnonymousFebruary 28th 2015.

There is a lack of knowledge by some locals in the city too. If you asked twenty people in Tesco in Gorton,where the oldest library in the English speaking world? How many would say Chethams? Or where the communist manifesto was written? We have to start educating our young people about the greatness of Manchester and the larger North West(Lancashire). Like Tony Wilson once said. 'In the North West it rains all the time and through that rain we produced the Industrial revolution,Trade Unions,The communist manifesto,Womens suffrage,the first free libraries,The first trains,the splitting of the atom,the world's first computer and in London it is sunny all the time. What did they produce? Chas and fxxxxxg Dave'.

MichaelFebruary 28th 2015.

It is not sunny all the time in London. You are trying to portray people as ignorant but it seems you are the one with the incorrect facts.

urbanbubbleMarch 1st 2015.

Michael here, MD I have to agree with a few comments, the city is an hive of excitement and I think the next 5 to 7 years of development will be extra exciting. The City Centre will re-define its boundary, we'll provide better accommodation for residents and one hopes services and facilities too along side. We'll never have a large city centre park but we can create more, small pocket parks, look after what we have better and do this littel things that help like more tree planting and hanging baskets across the city (which look magnificent). I am too in Carole and Reader xxx - the city is hugely popular at weekends and even moreso when the footy and large gigs are on. We need to put more time, money and resoures into day to day cleaning. Monday mornings are a mess and its a good thing we have so much rain, it helps mask the muck left. A lot of this is about how people treat the city too which could be tackled - those who pop in and out for the weekend not taking as much consideration as we'd like. I am sure there's one there but I believe a city wide plan of delivering lots of little things which is public / private ran and spearheaded by one of each, who are passionate and rally up partners would get help. urbanbubble contributed a fair whack to some tree planting in NQ but the guys organising have to move so slowly (not their fault). Clear plan, visuals of areas, faster delivery and showcasing these initiatives in use would entice supporters and lovers of this city who can fund, to do so. High Line in NYC is a great example of how private and public can make a real difference in this space.

urbanbubbleMarch 1st 2015.

Sorry, my post was meant to go under urbanbubble.

Kevin PeelFebruary 25th 2015.

Really pleased with this and hope it attracts more people and business to this area.

AnonymousFebruary 28th 2015.

Trees, trees and more trees please. Beautiful to look at, shelter from rain, brings birds into the city and great for the environment. What's not to like.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 28th 2015.

You are so right. This lack of green spaces lets Manchester down big time. Please please will someone provide us with a proper park in the centre. Not one with canals and barges,or ugly bogeys made of rubber and futuristic windmills,but a proper park with trees flower beds nice avenues. Where people can sit eat butties and read. Like St Stephens Green in Dublin. Come on new Mayor,this is your challenge. There is no great world city without a proper landscaped centrally located park.

AnonymousFebruary 28th 2015.

No Michael not ignorant just lacking knowledge. And I know it isn't sunny in London all the time. Tony Wilson was trying to use the analogy of the amazing things Italy had achieved through years of turmoil,compared to cuckoo clock land Switzerland with years of stability. Nice genteel London,versus the Industrial mayhem of the North West.Upheaval makes people think and makes people act. Do you really think that Womens' suffrage would have started in Hertfordshire. Or the communist manifesto would have been written in Godalming.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Manci DoodleMarch 2nd 2015.

According to Bernstein & Leese it is the stability of a one party Labour state that has led to so much progress rather than upheaval. He thinks the significance of the 1996 bomb is overstated.

AnonymousMarch 2nd 2015.

I agree MD, the significance of the 1996 bomb, in Manchester's city centre renaissance, is surely greatly overstated? Annoyingly so! Because are we really saying that the then dilapidated Shambles Square would now still be there otherwise? Or the Arndale Centre would never have been modernised, while many other major UK city centre shopping centres have been rebuilt since then anyway? Remember too that pre Gordon Brown coming to power in 1997, huge lottery grants were being handed out left right & centre back then, so I'm sure the redevelopment of the Royal Exchange and the building of Urbis etc could/would have happened anyway.

Jonathan Schofield - editorMarch 2nd 2015.

The bomb accelerated change in the area of main damage but the mental shift in the city had occurred prior to that while Graham Stringer was the Council Leader. The bomb was a bad thing in every way and nothing good has come from it that wouldn't have happened in a more controlled manner over a longer time span.

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