Piccadilly Plaza - Piccadilly Exchange

This complex of building, beside Parker Street across from Piccadilly Gardens, was designed by Covell Mathews and Partners and built between 1959 and 1965. It comprises the Piccadilly Hotel (on the left), Sunley House (the tower in the centre standing end-on to Piccadilly Gardens) and Bernard House.


photographer Arthur True - generously donated by his daughter Sheila Roy

The image above is shown here with the permission of Dr. Neil Clifton


I watched this edifice being built and I have to say that as a teenaged I thought that it was cool, a step into the 20th century and away from the sooty black buildings that dominated the city centre. However, as an adult I think I am with the majority of Manchester people who would like to see the back of this eyesore that blights an important focal point in the city. Granted, a recent refurbishment has made some positive difference to a structure that was not only uninspiring but looking increasingly tired. However the Piccadilly Plaza proves the adage that you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

Redevelopment work started in 2000 and what you see in the photographs today is the end result. In the process Bernard House was to be demolished and the complex re-branded as the Piccadilly Exchange. For balance here is what the developers say about the complex:

"In Autumn 2006, Bruntwood’s vision for City Tower will be realised. Externally City Tower will reclaim its title as a Manchester icon and internally it will offer 225,000sq.ft. of the city’s finest office accommodation." .... "Refurbishment of Sunley Tower will have a major impact on the City's skyline. It is to be totally re-clad in green tinted solar reflective glass and floodlighting will turn the tower into an important and attractive night time landmark."

"A new two-tier shopping arcade linking York Street and Parker Street will be perhaps the most significant addition to the Piccadilly Exchange. ... Greatly improved pedestrian access between the Gardens and China Town was a key element of the City Council's design brief for Piccadilly, opening up surrounding areas and increasing the number of pedestrians."

"When completed, Piccadilly Exchange will comprise over 31,000sq.m. of office space, 17,000sq.m. of retailing and a 19,000sq.m. hotel. It is estimated that it will employ 1,797 people and is expected to be completed before the 2002 Commonwealth Games."

Images from December 2010

April 2012

The former Ramada Piccadilly Hotel is now a Mercure



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