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MediaCityUK has transformed from a derelict dock to a unique digital media hub in just 30 years. Since opening in 2012, this 53-acre site has become home to the BBC and ITV. The University of Salford is also here, alongside 250 other creative businesses. The growth of MediaCityUK is a key reason for Manchester contending with London.
Over time, MediaCityUK became highly desirable for media and broadcasting companies. Businesses are even migrating North to call it home. After being purposely built for business and innovation, it developed into a destination for culture, retail, sport, leisure – and, ultimately, a residential community. MediaCityUK has become such a destination that people are joining businesses in relocating. Residents choose to commute to Manchester or live within its boundary, all to access the employment or community MediaCityUK offers.
MediaCityUK is one of Manchester’s biggest and most successful regeneration projects in Manchester. However, due to changing trends and growing demand in the area, Salford City Council seeks an expansion and has signed off on an update to Phase 2 of the project. This will help the growth of MediaCityUK reach its full potential across the next 10-15 years. Such a development has been described as a ‘once-in-a-generation opportunity’ and will shape Manchester’s future.
Growth Plans for MediaCityUK
The original framework in 2016 set out to deliver 555,000 sq ft of offices and 1,800 homes. Now, MediaCity is home to 1.4m sq ft of workspace and more than 1,100 homes. As for Phase 2 currently under the 6-week consultation, the regeneration is due to double the size of MediaCity’s current footprint. The growth of MediaCityUK proposes 800,000 sq ft of commercial space and 3,000 homes. The framework itself is flexible to adjust to demands in the market.
Residential and commercial spaces are key priorities for Salford Quays. So MediaCity can reach its full potential over the next 10 to 15 years, residential and commercial spaces are being significantly scaled up. This alone cements Manchester as a key tourist city in the UK and a main reason behind the North West’s thriving property market.
Approximately 3,200 new homes and 75,000 sqm of commercial space were identified since testing the master plan. However, the community living and working in MediaCityUK will shape its growth.
The development will stretch further around Quayside Shopping Centre and drive economic growth and innovation. MediaCityUK aims to become an ‘unrivalled destination’, providing more homes, employment opportunities, and leisure facilities, “while making the most of the quay’s greatest asset – the waterfront.”
The Media Piazza will build on the success of Phase 1 surrounding the business ecosystem. There are opportunities here to invest further into the public realm, introducing food and drink pavilions and adding biodiverse landscapes. Accessibility will also be improved through enhanced travel routes and waterfront connections.
Plans for a sustainable neighbourhood will offer residents ‘unparalleled access’ to possibilities. An array of housing types will be available with access to outdoor spaces, retail, and employment opportunities right on its doorstep. This vision will contribute to Salford’s housing targets and aid in long-term sustainability goals.
Cultural Community Hub
Quayside MediaCityUK Shopping Centre is at the heart of this area’s growth framework. This regeneration has already begun with Central Bay Food Hall. To aid the Salford 2030 Vision, start-ups and local independent businesses will future-proof demand for retail provision while reanimating the waterfront.
Waterfront and Gateway
A variety of ‘vibrant areas’ will be built to reflect a ‘sense of arrival’ to MediaCityUK. It will have a ‘people-first purpose’, framed by the area’s iconic architecture and include many transport connections. A strong network will join everything, through pedestrian and cycle routes, to promote sustainable and active travel.
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