Today marks a significant day in the next chapter of Mayfield in Manchester city centre. We have opened the doors of the former Mayfield station to the city's media to announce the next steps in our proposals for a soulful regeneration of the 24-acre site.
In just a few weeks' time, Mayfield will once again reverberate to the sound of laughter and conversations with a distinctive Mancunian accent as we open part of the site as a unique street-food destination and workspace with a small community garden.
The site, which is just a stone's throw from the city's Piccadilly Station, has been derelict for over 30 years.
Now an area next to the old Mayfield station building is being transformed by the temporary installation of a series of shipping containers housing street food traders at ground level with offices on upper levels.
Anchored by Grub Manchester – a weekly street-food fair – visitors will be treated to an ever-changing roster of six of the city's and country's best street-food traders along with craft beers created by Manchester's Runaway Brewery and other local craft breweries.
For us, this represents just the beginning of our work with partners to bring Mayfield back to life. It is a truly unique site in the city and for far too long it has turned its back to the people of Manchester. We have opened it up to reintroduce it to Manchester and Manchester to it.
We want people to feel welcome, inspired and a real sense of belonging here - it will be a happy place which celebrates the city's rich diversity, its past and its future.
We are deliberately starting small but will provide the conditions for Mayfield to grow and evolve in the coming months and years.
A large 'staircase' structure will link the levels and provide covered seating and, over time, a community garden will be created next to the River Medlock.
The design for this early use of the site seeks to connect with the industrial heritage of the site, both the railway and the mills, revealing previously hidden cobble stones and taking inspiration from the cross-braced lattice of the existing yellow girders, giving the impression of a giant loom.
Last year we were appointed as development partner by the Mayfield Partnership, which comprises Manchester City Council, LCR and Transport for Greater Manchester.
The partnership's masterplan for the 26-acre industrial site close to Piccadilly Station envisages the creation of a vibrant, inclusive and eclectic mixed use development, and has been hailed as one of the most significant regeneration projects for Manchester. We can't wait to get started on the "soulful transformation" of this once thriving industrial site, which will keep Mayfield's rich heritage at its heart.
To sign up for updates on Mayfield, visit www.mayfieldmanchester.co.uk.