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Hawkins\Brown replaces Mecanoo on Neville-backed campus

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Hawkins\Brown has replaced Mecanoo on a high-profile, footballer-backed university campus scheme in Manchester, the AJ has learned

The UA92 scheme for former international footballers including Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs was part of the Stretford Masterplan, approved by councillors on Trafford Council’s executive committee this week.

It is understood Mecanoo carried out early work on the project but has since been replaced by Hawkins\Brown, which has offices in Manchester and London.

The AJ reported last year that Dutch-headquartered Mecanoo had made five redundancies at its Manchester studio, reducing it to a skeleton staff. It also emerged last month that Mecanoo was to be replaced on the £27 million project to build a new home for Oldham Coliseum Theatre, despite offering to resource the project from abroad. 

A spokesperson for the Class of 92 group behind the university campus project said today: ’It is important to all involved in UA92 that this project makes a positive economic and social impact in the Greater Manchester area.

’Mecanoo recently withdrew its Manchester office and UA92 has since begun to work with an alternative architect, Hawkins\Brown, to develop the campus building.’

Neville, Giggs and former Manchester United teammates Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and new England women’s coach Phil Neville are working with the University of Lancaster on the UA92 scheme.

The campus formed part of a Refreshed Stretford Masterplan, published by the council this month and approved by its executive on 29 January.

‘The UA92 Campus Quarter will be established on the site of the former Kellogg’s office on Brian Statham Way adjacent to Old Trafford Metrolink Stop and Lancashire County Cricket Club,’ said the masterplan. ’This area will comprise teaching and learning accommodation alongside other facilities and employment space.’

Other sites planned for development under the masterplan include 86 Talbot Road, the former MKM House and the former Anderton House.

The masterplan adds that: ‘Manchester United Football Club has a significant land holding in the area that could provide opportunities for a mix of uses including sporting, residential and commercial development.’

Manchester United Football Club has a significant land holding in the area

Leader of Trafford Council Sean Anstee said earlier this month: ‘When we started our consultation process, we promised to have a proper conversation with the people of Stretford and we promised to listen.

‘We were overwhelmed with the passion, time and energy that people invested in this process. It involved massive commitment from both local residents and council staff, during which time we had a lively, challenging, but always meaningful dialogue.

’The result is amended proposals that we hope reflect the ideas and feedback of the majority of people who told us what they thought, while still ensuring we capture the regeneration opportunities that UA92 brings.’ 

Other partners in the UA92 scheme include Trafford Council, software giant Microsoft, Trafford College and office space provider Bruntwood.

UA92 students will have paid work placements as an integral part of their studies and receive degrees from the University of Lancaster.

Hawkins\Brown and Mecanoo have been contacted for comment.

It has been a busy few days in the design world for Neville and Giggs. Historic England this week warned it it was ‘unable to support’ Hodder + Partners’ reworked design for the controversial St Michael’s tower scheme in Manchester, which is also backed by the two footballers-turned-developers.

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