After the recession in the construction industry that’s been going on since 2008 with few new projects beginning and some old ones being mothballed, we seem to be building stuff again. As well as No 1 St. Peter’s Square, some apartment blocks are about to begin in the city centre. With people not able to get mortgages to buy houses because the banks won’t lend, people are having to rent places. This has meant that practically all of Manchester’s apartments are filled and people can’t find anything to rent. Rental prices are soaring and people are paying more in rent than they would if they were on the mortgage that they can’t get! Crazy!
Another project that is getting started is the one planned for the old BBC building and the studios on Oxford Road. Sandwiched between the universities and the city centre, on a huge prominent site, it wasn’t going to stay empty for long. The building is one of my ‘blots on the landscape’ and one company wanted to buy it and just do it up a bit which would mean we would be stuck with it for many decades to come. Fortunately, a company that said they wanted to raze it and begin again won the competition to buy it. They will replace the BBC buildings with a hotel, offices, apartments, retail space and a new public area. I was worried that when they had the building they would back track on what they said and decide to do a cheap tidy up instead of the £200,000,000 project they had promised.
This hasn’t happened and it’s ‘bye bye BBC’ on Oxford Road at the moment, as the demolition gangs have moved in to remove the buildings prior to the build. I like the view in the last picture with the clock tower of the Palace Hotel rearing up from the rubble of the BBC building. It’s weird, I never liked the BBC building but it’s kind of sad to see it in rubble this way as it was an important building in the city. I hope they are keeping the trees. They are big, beautiful and healthy but that didn’t save the ones in St. Peter’s Square did it? And I think the rest of those left in the square are likely to go before that scheme is finished and the pretty, lilac flowered Empress/Princess trees are installed.
Across the street, the Art Deco cinema buildings that now house the Dancehouse Theatre have disappeared behind tarps. They aren’t being demolished but are being given a much needed makeover on this important route into the city centre from the south. ODDER BAR is under there somewhere!