An update report about Manchester City Centre’s new St. John’s neighbourhood and progress on Factory will go the Council’s Executive on Wednesday 11 January 2017.
The report, which will first be considered by Economy Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday 4 January, notes responses to a consultation on the regeneration framework for St. John’s and progress on Factory’s funding and operating model.
At the heart of the new creative-led neighbourhood of St. John’s, Factory will be a unique ultra-flexible venue bringing a world-class arts programme to audiences of up to 7,000 at a time.
The presence of Factory will act as a ‘cultural anchor’ to St. John’s, a vibrant new neighbourhood on the former ITV Granada site which will encourage independent and creative businesses as well as including 2,500 residential units.
The new venue will welcome almost 900,000 visitors a year, growing local cultural audiences – rather than competing with existing venues – as well as attracting around 200,000 visitors a year from outside Greater Manchester.
Training for the next generation of technicians, producers and other creative roles in the arts and events industries, along with education and volunteering programmes, will be delivered from the building.
It is predicted that within a decade, Factory will create or support, direct and indirectly, almost 1,500 full-time jobs and add £1.1 billion to the city’s economy over a decade.
The total budget for Factory is £110m. The government has identified funding of £78m via Arts Council England and the approvals process for this is progressing smoothly. An application for a further £7m lottery grant has been submitted and the Executive will be asked to approve a Council contribution of up to £20m which will be mainly funded from income received from land and property sales. The remaining £5m will be made up by fundraising via donations and sponsorships. If, as hoped, the fundraising target is exceeded the Council will be able to reduce its funding contribution.
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “The cultural sector already plays a massive part in the success of Manchester, both through the economic benefits generated by visitors and as part of the inspiring mix which makes this a city where people want to be.
“But Factory will be a complete game-changer, building on these already outstanding foundations to make Manchester and the wider region a genuine cultural counterbalance to London. It’s not just significant for Greater Manchester – it’s significant for the UK.
“As well as delivering world-class events, it will act as a catalyst to the whole creative economy and open up extensive new opportunities for local people, and especially young people, to gain jobs and skills in the creative sector.
“The Council’s one-off financial support for the costs will secure £90 million of external investment and £1.1 billion of economic benefits for the city over a decade with more to come.”
A planning application for Factory will be considered on 12 January 2017. Subject to approval, construction will start later this year with Factory scheduled to open by early 2020.
The Executive are recommended to approve the revised regeneration framework for St. John’s, which will guide development in the area.