£5.3m funding for creative and creative hub approved

MANCHESTER City Council’s Executive has approved funding of £5.3m from its capital budget to refurbish One Central Park, in Manchester’s Central Park business park, creating a new hub for digital and creative businesses.

The 10-year-old building was acquired by Manchester City Council two years ago and consists of 83,203 sq ft of lettable office space in three blocks, over three floors in a triangular layout with 272 car park spaces. 

The site idirectly opposite Greater Manchester Police’s North Manchester Divisional Headquarters on Northampton Road and close to Central Park Metrolink tram stop.

The building, which is at the heart of Central Park, where the City Council has recently acquired the remaining 38 acres of development land, will be remodelled mimicking the stripped-back design style that has been so successful at The Sharp Project, to provide high quality accommodation for new and larger digital businesses that cannot be located on site at The Sharp Project due to its popularity.

The refurbishment work will include reconfiguring the current offices and meeting rooms to create more flexible and innovative workspace. 

Additional accommodation will be provided on ground floor with exposed ceilings and glazed walls to create a refined urban environment, similar in design to the Space and Sharp Projects.

The building’s ground floor will be transformed to provide a vibrant internal plaza designed to foster a creative community.

The new space will offer networking, work and entertainment space along with hot desking for both tenants and the wider Central Park community. 

The open air courtyard, which is currently under-used, will be enclosed with a transparent ‘Eden’ style roof, similar to the Victoria Station canopy.   This area will act as the heart of the building and will be dressed with a living ‘green’ wall incorporating internal balconies so offices can have open access to the plaza.

 Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council said: “One Central Park is an important asset for the development of the digital sector in Manchester and this work will enhance our competitive position and make the building fit for purpose and a more attractive proposition within the digital sector. 

“The remodeling of the building will better serve the needs of the type of companies it is aimed at, and establish a vibrant creative community with space to network and collaborate.

“The investment will not only attract more digital businesses to consider One Central Park as a base, but it will act as a catalyst  for further development opportunities across the whole of Central Park. ”

Following more detailed design work, it is anticipated refurbishment work will start next summer with completion expected by mid-2018.