in the Manchester Arndale Centre
in the heart of Manchester's central shopping district, the Arndale
Centre in many ways dominates the main shopping area of the city.
Begun in 1972, by its completion in 1979 it was the largest covered
town shopping centre in Europe, covering some 30 acres in the old
city centre, with 750,000 shoppers visiting it each week. With over
200 shops, major department stores, restaurants an fast food outlets
it has become a busy and active shopping arcade.
centre houses an 1800 space multi-storey car parking facilities, shopping
malls on two levels, office space in tower, residential flats, and
originally the Arndale Centre Bus Station at Cannon Street, so badly
damaged by the IRA bombing
of Manchester in 1996, that it never reopened, and has now largely
been built over, Cannon Street having virtually disappeared under
the Arndale redevelopment.
The design for the Centre was made by the architects Hugh Wilson and
Lewis Womersley, who had already redeveloped the University Precinct
on Oxford Road, as well as a considerable involvement in the redevelopment
of housing in the Hulme area.
It was a controversial
development, obliterating some of Manchester's old streets and alleys,
and stubbornly defying all the old Victorian grandeur surrounding
it, with its massive monolithic concrete forms and unrelieved ceramic
cladding. The whole project cost some £100 million - a then
land, bounded by Market Street, Corporation Street, High Street and
Withy Grove was designated as a "Comprehensive Development Area"
by the City Council.
Many different companies had bought and owned the land through the
1970s, but it was eventually to be built by Town & City Properties,
who, in the face of mounting financial difficulties and substantial
underwritten loans of over £16 million, sold the lease to P&O
Properties, who managed the complex until 1998 when it was taken over
by the Prudential, and latterly by Peel Holdings.
Centre houses many major department stores and famous High Street
names, including Currys, Next, W.H.Smith, BHS, Burtons, Tandys, etc,
as well as innumerable other smaller concessions.
redevelopment has been taking place to the Arndale Centre since September
2003. Prudential, who now own the centre, (having purchased it from
P&O in 1998), together with Manchester City Council have produced
a £150 million plan for redevelopment which includes covering
up 80% of the ill-fated and much derided yellow tiled surface of the
building, and re-cladding the exterior in a pleasanter, less gruesome
architectural style. This
is the very last stage in the reconstruction of the city centre since
the IRA bombing of 1996 effectively
obliterated the heart of Manchester. The
northern end of the Arndale was completely demolished, as was Cannon
Street and the old Arndale Bus Station. Cannon Street was overbuilt
with the new part of the shopping complex and reborn as New Cannon
Street. At either end will be Exchange Court and the Wintergarden.
A major new store for Next was created facing the Urbis
Museum, completing the regeneration of the Millennium Quarter
and Exchange Square. Work was completed in late 2005.