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Raft OF First Street Bidders Failed Financial Test

Due diligence scrapped 22 bids for £19m cultural facility

Written by . Published on September 1st 2011.

Raft OF First Street Bidders Failed Financial Test

Almost half of the organisations bidding to build the new cultural facility on First Street failed financial due diligence checks.

In a new report to the city council’s Resources and Governance Committee, the final shortlist of six bidders is revealed as Austin Lord Smith, Bennetts, Grimshaw, Howarth Tompkins, Mecanoo Architecten and  RHWL: Arts Team.

‘Although Mecanoo’s tender price was not the lowest, their quality submission was very good.’

Mecanoo was awarded the contract to build the new £19m facility, which will house the new Cornerhouse and Library Theatre but the report also says that the original tender drew 54 expressions of interest – and 22 of those failed financial checks.

Mecanoo's bid was higher than some but the panel decided they had showed the best understanding of the brief.

The panel that chose the winning bid was made up of Fran Toms, Head of Culture at Manchester City Council;  Dave Carty, Head of Public, Private Partnership Unit at Manchester City Council; Dave Moutrey, Director of Cornerhouse and Paul Clay, Director of the Library Theatre Company.

‘Although Mecanoo’s tender price was not the lowest, their quality submission was very good,’ says the report. ‘The  team described a creative approach to engagement of the client team in order to fully understand the brief and explore options for different layouts and the shared use of spaces.

‘They provided relevant recent examples of arts projects and demonstrated a clear understanding of the technical requirements of the project. They articulated a clear understanding of the project ambitions and demonstrated a good creative approach to the multiple needs of the brief.’

The report recommends making the decision exempt from call in.

The team also includes two practices with presences in Manchester - Buro Happold, multi-disciplinary engineers, and quantity surveyors and design manager Davis Langdon (AECOM), plus theatre planners theatreadvies bv.

Work is expected to start on site next year with a view to a 2014 opening.

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

Andy VoSeptember 1st 2011.

I had to read that first sentence three times before it made sense. Too much tyre flipping Binnsy?

Father DougalSeptember 1st 2011.

This bodes well for the successful completion of this brilliantly conceived and totally not stupid project.

Simon BinnsSeptember 1st 2011.

It was a long day Andy...still is.

It should make more sense now. Or not.

Big KidSeptember 1st 2011.

If it's made out of Meccano will it be red and green?

AshaSeptember 2nd 2011.

What an utterly pointless waste of time.

JimtoSeptember 2nd 2011.

I hope someone keeps the current Cornerhouse cafe/cinema set up going. It's such a fantastic venue. My favourite in Manchester.

Given though that my walk from the Cornerhouse to work on Quay Street now involves 2 Sainsburys, 2 Tescos, 2 Starbucks, a Nero, 2 Subways, 2 Pizza Expresses, I hold out zero hope for that happening. I shall look forward to a third Starbucks opening in its place, or a Zizzi, or a Nandos. We definitely need more of those.

DingbatSeptember 2nd 2011.

Will this help bring a pint of beer back under £4 a pop?

AnonymousSeptember 5th 2011.

I have yet to meet anyone who works at, or uses, the cornerhouse who thinks this is a good idea. Horribly depressing all round but no one seems to want to speak out.

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