Leading Global Hotel Group Announces Manchester Investment at First Street

Ask Developments recently issued the following press release about the planning application for the First Street North development, which will include our new home…

Global hotel group Meliá Hotels International has announced today that it has chosen the 20-acre First Street in Manchester city centre for the group’s first Innside hotel in the UK, a key pre-let for the gateway site which will create an investment of £25m.

Spain’s leading hotel group made the announcement at FITUR, the international tourism trade fair in Madrid today (January 18). The 208-bed, 4-star hotel is the third to be announced in the UK by Meliá Hotels International, which will open its spectacular “ME London” hotel before the Olympic Games.

This young and cosmopolitan hotel Innside brand is ranked No 1 by German consumers and is always located in spectacular contemporary design buildings.

CEO and Vice Chairman of Meliá Hotels International Gabriel Escarrer says: “We are hugely excited about the culture-led vision for First Street in Manchester, a world-class city, ready for an Innside-brand hotel. Within our strategy to expand in the main European cities, the group is looking forward, subject to planning approval, to being located at such a vibrant destination.”

The hotel will be an anchor tenant for the First Street development alongside the proposed cultural centre incorporating the merged Cornerhouse and Library Theatre Company.  Plans for the hotel will be submitted to Manchester City Council on Monday January 23 by the council’s development partner Ask Developments, at the same time as MCC submit a planning application for the culture building.

The plans for the 60,000 sq ft circa £20m culture centre incorporate two theatres with seating capacities of 500 and 150 respectively, five cinema screens, together with galleries and restaurants, overlooking a new outdoor performance space.  The scheme architect is Dutch company, Mecanoo, which won an international design competition.

The new cultural centre will act as a powerful catalyst to the wider regeneration of the whole First Street site and its neighbourhood, bringing the area to life through increased footfall and helping create a strong sense of place.

The planning applications for these proposals at First Street North extend to a total floor space of 500,000 sq ft (of which the cultural centre represents 60,000 sq ft) on a 2.2 acre site adjoining the viaduct, which include the following elements designed by Ian Simpson Architects:
The Meliá Hotels International 4-star, 11-storey 208-bed Innside hotel, which includes a restaurant, bar, wellness suite and conference facilities.

  • 700-space multi-storey car park.
  • A 12-storey 108-bed budget hotel.
  • 30,000 sq ft of retail/leisure uses over 8-10 units.

There will also be a spacious new public square equipped to host a variety of outdoor events and performances, together with a partially-covered arcade connecting through to Whitworth Street West and Oxford Road Station. Townshend is the landscape architect.

A planning decision is expected in April 2012 and if approved, construction is scheduled to start in July 2012 and will be operational by summer 2014.

The scheme at First Street North represents an £80m investment which will deliver 750 jobs creating the ideal conditions to now advance the innovative mid urban office product which will ultimately create up to 10,000 jobs at First Street.

Ask Chief Executive Ken Knott says: “Meliá’s announcement, together with the detailed planning application for 500,000 sq ft, is a milestone moment for First Street.  Anchored by the new home for the merged Cornerhouse and Library Theatre Company, the scale and quality of this development will transform its destination characteristics attracting up to 1m people a year and creating the amenities and sense of place so critical to attracting office occupiers to the 1m sq ft of affordable high quality floorspace proposed.”

Manchester City Council’s commitment to creating  a striking new landmark home for Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre Company at what is the single largest undeveloped site in Manchester city centre, will act as a catalyst to attract up to 1m people a year to a new 24/7 destination.

The culture-led quarter will provide an eclectic mix of uses, transforming the arrival experience into the city and anchoring the northern end of First Street and connecting to Oxford Road rail station, the Conference Quarter and Deansgate Locks. The culture hub will also drive new activity in a range of creative and knowledge-based businesses along Whitworth Street and the Corridor.

The focal point of the new culture-led quarter will be the cultural centre, an exceptional multi-art form production-focused contemporary arts organisation. To create this through the merger of two of Manchester’s and the North West’s most established and well-loved arts organisations is both exciting and forward-thinking. To create at the same time a purpose-built venue to house theatre, visual arts and film will bring this vision to life to the benefit of audiences, artists and performers.

Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese said: “The First Street North scheme and Meliá’s choice of the city centre as their first UK investment for the Innside brand, is a multi million pound vote of confidence in Manchester’s vision and ambition and is especially welcome in the current economic climate.

“The new cultural facility will be at the heart of the regeneration of the First Street site and beyond and a catalyst for attracting further jobs and investment.  The wider developments are clear evidence that this important strategic project is gathering pace.   As well as driving growth within First Street, one of the regional centre’s key regeneration sites, it will stimulate the wider area including the Whitworth Street corridor.”

Paul Simpson, Managing Director of Visit Manchester, the tourist board for Greater Manchester, said: “The First Street development is a welcome addition to the city’s leisure offering. Its combination of an iconic cultural institution and a mix of leisure and accommodation operators will create a real sense of place at the southern gateway to the city. Tourism in Greater Manchester is a £5.4bn industry – supporting 75,000 full time equivalent jobs – and we are delighted that Meliá  Hotels International has chosen Manchester for its first Innside in the UK. Through developments like First Street and investment by international brands like Meliá  we can ensure that tourism continues to deliver for the local economy.”

For more information contact:

Roger Williams at Manchester City Council press office: r.williams@manchester.gov.uk on 0161 236 1010.

For Ask, Andy Spinoza or Philippa Short. SKV 0161 838 7770 firstname.lastname@skvcommunications.co.uk

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