First Street is an ambitious regeneration project for the centre of Manchester at the intersection of its ‘creative’ and ‘knowledge’ corridors. Fletcher Priest has designed the masterplan of the 20 acre site, which has been formally adopted by Manchester City Council as a Strategic Regeneration Framework. The development is vital to Manchester’s economic development and envelopes the critically acclaimed HOME arts centre and Tony Wilson Square, that honours the Manchester music legend and founder of the Hacienda night club which was opposite the site.
The new neighbourhood includes more than 800 homes in First Street South and 2 million sq feet of workplace buildings within First Street Central. Fletcher Priest is responsible for the design of several offices across the site, with the first 250,000 sq ft building, #6 First Street, completing in August 2017. Much of the workspace across the site has been pre-let to international companies including Autotrader, Jacobs and Ford Credit, while Gazprom has already taken a third of Fletcher Priest’s #6 First Street.
Fletcher Priest’s vision was to move the centre of gravity of the city, reinstating street grids and creating pedestrian and bicycle routes through the site. With these new transport and bicycle facilities, First Street is linked directly to Manchester’s rail termini at Piccadilly and nearby Oxford Road, which for the latter the practice has also completed a masterplan. First Street also has direct connections to the Mancunian Way and the motorway network, and Manchester airport via the city’s tram system.
Through its self-generated Futurework research programme, Fletcher Priest has identified alternative workplace models that match the individual needs of business tenants, providing base buildings that are attractive in their own right but sufficiently flexible to be modified or upgraded to a higher specification. The buildings are straightforward in form, attaining the highest specification for sustainability, with floor plates sized for excellent day-lighting, and facades designed to provide high levels of insulation and remarkable environmental performance. Taking into account the sensitive construction cost situation, the buildings are suitable for education, creative industries and information and communications technology sectors.
The residential components of the masterplan draws on Fletcher Priest’s extensive research and experience of urban masterplanning, including the 2012 Olympic Village and major projects in London, Oxford, Cambridge and Riga.
First Street Strategic Regeneration Framework : Click for PDF