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Cost of OMA’s Manchester arts centre leaps by £19 million

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The cost of OMA’s Manchester arts centre, The Factory, has soared by 17 per cent before a brick has been laid

A report to councillors has outlined a £19 million increase in the budget required for the Dutch practice’s 13,500m² proposal for the site of the former Granada TV Studios in the city.

The hike takes the building’s cost up to £130.6 million, and follows a design stage review ahead of it starting on site in the new year.

Extra costs include £2.7 million in ‘increased design team fees’ as well as just under £1 million for ‘additional design solutions’.

Construction inflation has increased the price by more than £5 million, while increased acoustics work – including measures to block out noise from the nearby Ordsall Chord rail link – has added £4.5 million.

Ground investigations uncovered the need for further subsurface works and a longer design and build period has added £3 million. Manchester City Council has also strengthened its own team and revised its budget for contingencies.

It is not the first time the budget has been increased on the landmark scheme, which was originally costed at nearer £110 million when first submitted for planning in late 2016.

The design was eventually approved this summer following revisions after the council approved a £1.6 million increase in the scheme’s budget to ‘improve the appearance of the façade and to deliver an appropriately scaled orchestra pit’.

Oma factory evolution

Oma factory evolution

Evolution of the designs

Once built, the scheme will create a 5,000-capacity, flexible performance space known as The Warehouse, as well as a 1,520-seat theatre and related elements.

The arts centre will be the permanent home for the Manchester International Festival from 2021. Manchester City Council claims the project – a key part of the wider St John’s neighbourhood – will deliver a £1.1 billion boost to the city’s economy over a decade.

But various council committees will now be asked to approve a doubling of the local authority’s contribution to the scheme to £40.6 million. The council said this would be funded by land sales.

Central government is contributing £78 million to The Factory. A bid has been made for £7 million of lottery funding from the Arts Council and a further £5 million will be generated through fundraising.

Manchester City Council leader Richard Leese said: ‘There is nothing like The Factory anywhere in Europe, let alone the UK, and its game-changing impact for Manchester and the north of England cannot be overstated. That’s why it has been able to attract so much central-government funding and is such an exciting prospect.

‘It’s a bold and ambitious undertaking and such projects do not come without complex challenges, which we have tackled head on now so we can be confident going forwards.’ 

Oma factory april 2018 elevation

Oma factory april 2018 elevation

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Chris Roche

    £110m+ for an arts project in Manchester is just plain daft, and I am confident Tony Wilson would not approve. In 1991 as a young architect, and ex Manchester student, I returned to Manchester to set up my practice, following a year working in New York. I proposed a Manchester International Festival in 1992 which was rejected by the then leaders of the Council on the grounds it would compete with their annual Sunday afternoon Mayor's Parade. Tony Wilson, then head of Factory Records, invited me to submit my proposal and it morphed into Europe's biggest urban music event and ran for over 15 years contributing to the regeneration of Manchester, culturally and economically. Tony Wilson, like me loved Manchester, moreover he had a love of Architecture. I gave him a Japan Architect monograph of Tadao Ando as a present, and years later he was responsible for introducing Ando to Manchester.
    Like me, Tony was a socialist, and deeply concerned about the deepening economic divide within society. I cannot imagine him supporting what appears to be a "vanity" project when Manchester has a critical problem with homeless people sleeping on it's streets. Moreover the idea of a European Architect collaborating with a London Architect to "reflect" the history and culture of Manchester ia anathema to the legacy of Factory culture - a local, independent enterprise, and the antithesis of "capitalist" mainstream culture.

    Chris Roche / 11.04 Architects Founder and Mancunian.

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