It’s a shame to see the recession biting hard all around us. The incredibly spacious but now empty ex-Ilva store out on Great Ancoats St a stark reminder. Looking at such an impressive space walking to work this morning it got me thinking as to who could actually occupy such a huge contemporary retail space – I mean if it didn’t work for Ilva is there any reason to suggest the location would work for anyone else in any economic climate? Ancoats has its merits but a centre of retailing excellence it is not. Not yet anyway. So, to try and put a positive spin on a desperate situation I’ve got a plan. Across the road lies the infamous Central Retail Park, widely pilloried for it’s ugly facade, and worse still it now appears to be losing its tenants with a couple of vacant units springing up. Wouldn’t it be good (well it would be for me) if the council, government or anyone with a bucketload of cash could broker a deal to move the existing tenants out of CRP across Great Ancoats St into Ilva’s ex-space, neatly divided up to accommodate the respective retailers. They’d have a vastly superior environment from which to trade and you’d think that simply being over the road wouldn’t alienate their existing or prospective customers.
(above) Central Retail Park, ugly? And what to do with the retail park? Flatten it. Demolish it. Crush it to the ground and with a few green seeds and a bit of landscaping, create an inner city urban park area. Manchester is crying out for it. It would be a fitting entry point to the planned New Islington and Ancoats Urban Village areas and a leisure haven for local workers and residents swarming into the old mills and new builds.
(above) the Ilva store, lovely glass It would attract more people to the area, help to fill vacant office & residential spaces and ensure a higher footfall for the existing retailers being asked to upsticks. The history of Ancoats is translated through the diversity of its fabulous buildings, with old and new blending seamlessly around us all. But I’m sorry, Central Retail Park is neither old nor new, it’s just plain ugly and having no part to play in the future of this area, simply has to go.