Located 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.
Multi-Storey Car Parking
The 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 unthinkable sum.
The 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.
Manchester Department Stores & Major Retail Outlets
The 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 of the Manchester Arndale Centre 2003
Extensive 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.