City Council approves £110 million Factory building

Stephen Chapman's picture
by Stephen Chapman

Manchester City Council’s planning committee has approved the multi-million pound Factory arts centre.

The council believes that the building will “power a £1.1 billion boost” for the city’s economy, attracting 900k visitors a year, with 200k of these coming from outside of the Greater Manchester region.

The venue will be at the heart of the new St John’s neighbourhood and promises to be an “ultra-flexible” building, with the potential to host audiences of up to 7000.

According to council predictions, it will create or support, direct or indirectly almost 1500 full-time jobs within a decade.

It will be designed by Rem Koolhaas’s Office for Metropolitan Architecture in Rotterdam and will be its first major public building in the country.

The budget for Factory is £110m, with £78m approved by the HM Treasury for government capital investment. An application has been submitted for a £7m lottery grant; the council will contribute up to £20m (from property and land sales); and the remaining £5m will come through fundraising.

"Factory is what the arts world and Manchester has been waiting for. It's the key to unlocking a wealth of new cultural opportunities in the city for audiences and arts practitioners, and also to massive economic gain for Manchester and the wider region," stated Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council.

"Factory isn't going to just transform this unused corner of the city centre, it's going to further transform the way we see the world, and the way the world sees Manchester."

Manchester International Festival will operate Factory as well as delivering the festival every 2 years. As a result, MIF has recruited Mark Ball as associate artistic director. He in June, joins from LIFT, where he's currently artistic director.

"This is a great show of confidence in the cultural future of the North. in just five festivals The Manchester International Festival has established itself as a one of the major international arts Festivals, and we are delighted to now be able to add to the City’s and the Country’s cultural offer all year round through our programming at Factory," added Tom Bloxham, chairman, Manchester International Festival.

Construction is expected to start in the Spring, with the venue opening in 2020.