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Project director appointed for Manchester's Our Town Hall initiative

Paul Candelent has been appointed as project director for the major project to safeguard, repair and improve access to Manchester Town Hall and Albert Square.

Paul, who has more than 30 years of experience in the construction and property sectors, was project director for Unlocking the Rylands - the project to restore, renew and improve access to the Grade I-listed John Rylands Library on Deansgate - from 2005 to 2008.

Further Manchester-based experience came in the form of the National Indoor BMX Arena, part of the National Cycling Centre in East Manchester, for which he was project director from 2009 to 2011.

He was also the project director leading a team of project managers delivering the £500m, 42-acre Liverpool One shopping centre between 2007 and 2009.

He joins the Our Town Hall project from the Capita group, for whom he is currently regional director for the North and Midlands.

Councillor Bernard Priest, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said:  “Paul has an impressive track record in leading the successful, on-time and within budget delivery of complex and ambitious schemes. These include high profile projects right here in Manchester. His experience in overseeing the rebirth of the John Rylands, another of the city’s Grade I-listed gems, is especially relevant for a project in which heritage is so important.

“We take our role as custodians of the Town Hall for current and future generations very seriously and the project director’s role will be fundamental to the success of this project.”

Paul Candelent said: “It’s a tremendous honour to be selected as project director for this challenging and exciting project and I am looking forward to devoting myself to it. I have lived and worked in Greater Manchester for 30 years, and I know what a treasure Manchester Town Hall is and how much it means to so many people. We are determined not just to protect, repair and restore it but to improve public access so everyone can enjoy its rich heritage.”  

The project is entering an important stage and Paul's recruitment is timely. The procurement of a Design Team, the architects who will be responsible for designing the detailed scheme, will conclude by the end of May followed by a process that will run from June until November to select the main contractors.  

The Grade I-listed Manchester Town Hall will be 140 years old this year. While it has been maintained and remains structurally sound, it is now seriously showing its age with many elements reaching the end of their natural lifespans. Without significant work to address damage and defects, its condition will deteriorate to the point where it will become unfit for ongoing use and would need to be ‘mothballed.’  The building, designed in the 1860s by Alfred Waterhouse, also needs work to bring it up to modern access and safety standards while preserving its heritage.

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