Manchester City Council has approved a £14 million investment package to enable the expansion plans for The Space Project in West Gorton, east Manchester to go ahead. Subject to planning, this will
Proposals will include the construction of nearly 90,000 sq ft of new buildings for production and related support activities including a 30,000 sq ft stage, more than 6,000 sq ft of offices and green rooms, 10,000 sq ft for set construction workshops and a further 40,000 sq ft of business units for the TV production supply chain across the 6.8 hectare (17 acre) site.
The expansion of The Space Project will satisfy the nationally recognised demand for TV and film production stages as well as support space for the supply chain businesses, which will help grow the sector and allow Manchester to further develop its already prominent position within the UK for media production.
Susan Woodward, Founder of The Space Project, said: “Demand for production space is growing rapidly. Building Phase 2 will help satisfy current and future demand and importantly allow us to accommodate essential supply chain businesses in a production hub which will develop local job opportunities and drive further growth in the sector.”
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council said: “The delivery of this next phase will ensure that Manchester and The Space Project stay ahead of the curve against competing facilities, which will enable us to capture future opportunities to locate TV and drama productions in greater Manchester. This will help create a further 275 jobs and boost the local economy by nearly £10million a year.”
The adjacent site – the Armstrong Mill complex - was bought by the City Council in 2014 and demolition is due to be completed this month. The site will then be incorporated within the boundary of The Space Project creating a secure complex for production.
The Space Project opened in October 2014 and was funded from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) and Manchester City Council. In its first year it has attracted all major UK producers. Clients include BBC, Sky, Channel 4, Sony Big Talk and Tiger Aspect. The first year saw on-site production activity supporting approximately 250 jobs with an associated GVA (Gross Value Added) benefit to the local economy of £9m. The production stages have accommodated some of TV’s most popular dramas and comedies including Cradle to Grave, BBC Two’s highest rating drama origination of the year, Boy Meets Girl, a fifth series of Mount Pleasant, and Paul Abbott’s hit No Offence for Channel 4 as well as CBBC’s World’s End. The Space Project has also become the new home of the BBC’s enduringly popular Dragons’ Den.
It has also hosted Houdini and Doyle, the upcoming American-British-Canadian drama television series based on the friendship between Harry Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle. A 10-episode first session has been ordered by Fox in the United States, ITV in the UK and Shaw Media in Canada.
Following the approval of funding, it is anticipated a planning application will be submitted in April this year.
Manchester-based PRP architects, who designed The Sharp Project and The Space Project, have been appointed as architects on this new scheme.