Manchester's Factory International aims to boost arts

A new £186 mln (€214 mln) property investment in Manchester UK, dubbed Factory International, will introduce a bold new arts and cultural centre to the city, according to project manager, Manchester City Council. 

Located at one of the gateways to Manchester city centre on the banks of the River Irwell, the spaceship-like structure was recently revealed as work continues apace on the site. Its launch is expected in 2023.

The Factory forms part of the ongoing redevelopment of the old Granada Studios site and its name recalls the legendary music label, The Factory. It has been designed by architects Rem Koolhaas’ Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) and is being led by Manchester City Council, with backing from the Government and Arts Council England.

Once complete, the scheme will also feature a large outdoor area where people can eat, drink, and relax. Its main venue will house a 2,200-seat theatre and what is promised to be an 'immersive artistic environment' with a standing capacity of 5,000. It hopes to attract around 850,000 people to the city annually and add £1.1 bn to the economy over a decade.

The scheme forms part of the transformation of the St John’s district of Manchester city centre, which will become a destination for digital and creative businesses.

The Factory will also host the Manchester International Festival (MIF) that takes place every other year. The MIF will operate the Factory on a daily basis.

The scheme is also expected to create 1,500 jobs and will pioneer a programme of skills, training and engagement.

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