Brand new arts venue The Factory has been identified as a key project to help power Manchester’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Work has been able to continue throughout the crisis, but restrictions have limited numbers on site and as a result progress has slowed meaning that The Factory will now be completed in December 2022.
Predicted to bring a £1.1 billion boost over its first decade alone, it will be one of the largest purpose built arts spaces in the world.
As well as hosting some of the world’s most exciting artists, The Factory, built on the old Granada Studios site, will create and support 1,500 new jobs in the city and help the next generation of local talent to flourish.
It will usher in a new and exciting chapter for the struggling arts industry by offering a programme of backstage training and skills for people across the city.
Its Factory Futures programme will also benefit up to 10,000 unemployed young people.
Tony Bloxham MBE, Manchester International Festival Chair, said: “The Factory will have a major impact on the lives of people living across Manchester.
“It will also strengthen Manchester’s reputation as an internationally important centre for culture and creativity.”
The venue is already acting as a catalyst for regeneration of the wider St John’s creative neighbourhood and Enterprise City, within it, which has the potential to accommodate 17,000 jobs in start-ups and media and tech companies.
Although the space will bring huge benefit, like everyone, the project itself has not been immune to the impacts of the coronavirus challenge.
Its budget is to be increased by £45m to £186m, in order for construction to successfully be completed.
The tough financial position that Manchester City Council faces means the majority of the £45m will be found through bids to national funding sources and through enhanced fundraising by The Factory Trust.
Despite facing challenges, progress has been made on site and is continuing.
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “The Factory will act as a key anchor institution for our recovering cultural sector and a major catalyst for further investment and job creation in the burgeoning St John’s quarter.”
Image courtesy of OMA