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AT DALE ST CANAL BASIN a waterside village is in the making. Will it be a zone of mediocrity or a place people will want to come and look at? And elsewhere in our city, even modern buildings are being re-purposed and transformed...

IN AND AROUND DALE ST CANAL BASIN new apartment buildings are taking shape next to old warehouses which have been or are being converted for residential use. The London Warehouse (far left) built 1863, is now The Place, a hotel which rents out apartments in the same way as hotel rooms. Reflected in the water is the office building 111 Piccadilly, formerly Rodwell Tower, built directly above the canal in 1962. To the right are the temporary buildings and showrooms of the new development Vantage Quay.

EWM says: Will this area soon turn into a desirable new waterside village close to the heart of the city or another anonymous residential complex?

THE SALT WAREHOUSE is one of the oldest in Manchester and so has a very special significance. Currently it is being used as a kitchen showroom. With its stone construction and simple design it reflects the design principles of the era preceding the Industrial Revolution. .

EWM says: Once neglected and derided, Manchester's inner city industrial gems are as precious as the castles and stately homes of the countryside.

THE DATE STONE SAYS 1836, the year this warehouse next to the Rochdale Canal was built. For years it lay abandoned, its roof partially collapsed. Now refurbishment is nearing completion and a new generation of city dwellers will be soon be taking up residence where cotton bales and textiles were once stored.

EWM says: There is something quintessentially Manchester about these converted warehouses, which bring together Victorian and contemporary design values. Many successful conversions have taken place all over Manchester. Ideally, no warehouse or historic facade should ever be destroyed if it's possible to convert it for new use.

CANNON STREET was closed to traffic in late September to allow work to begin on the redevelopment of the north west corner of the Arndale Centre. Here cranes and diggers are removing the rubble left after the removal of the car park ramp.

EWM says: This looks to me to be one of the most promising developments in the whole of the new city centre. A nightmare space is being transformed into what could well turn out to be the focal point of the new Manchester..

PART OF THE ARNDALE CENTRE has been removed. The bridge section which linked the two parts of the gargantuan shopping centre has gone. The space in the bridge section once occupied by retail outlets is now in mid-air, and Cannon Street is an open space again.

EWM says: I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw part of the Arndale had gone. The Arndale Centre should never have been built on such a colossal scale in the first place, but the new Winter Gardens should hopefully lift the tone and standard of the entire development. And talking of lifts, I hope the appalling car park lifts will soon be consigned to history.


THE VIEW UP CANNON ST from Exchange Square has been transformed by the removal of part of the building. Where concrete and yellow tiles used to be is now an open area of sky. Appearing here soon will be a large new entrance to what may well be one of the largest glass-covered spaces in the UK.

EWM says: Will the new Arndale Centre Winter Gardens have the airy elegance of the glass-covered Great Court at London's British Museum, a project by Manchester-born architect Sir Norman Foster? Check Eyewitness in Manchester in a year or so to find out. Since I took this photo more of the Arndale has been demolished! See the second and concluding part of the Autumn 2003 Construction update for pictures.

All photos and articles © Aidan O'Rourke

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