Even MediaCityUK can’t escape the effects of a worldwide recession. Last month we heard about cutbacks to the BBC’s staff relocation scheme, and this month the economic climate continues to have an impact on MediaCityUK’s progress;
- The long-expected move of ITV to Trafford Wharf (opposite MediaCityUK) has been thrown into doubt – as Chairman Michael Grade prepares to announce significant redundancies as a result of falling profits. ITV says they are continuing to evaluate their options, but as Crain’s Editor Steve Brauner points out, a major relocation and a new building project is probably not so tempting given ITV’s current financial situation. (Update #2: – see below).
- Salford University’s building at MediaCityUK has been scaled back, from 18 to 13 storeys. (photos after the jump). No official word on why, although it’s presumed to be a financially motivated decision. (Update: MediaCityUK responds – see below).
- It’s not all doom on gloom at Salford Quays however – as visitors to the Lowry Outlet Mall jumped 14 percent over half term, with overall sales up 13 percent. The Mall is currently ‘pondering it’s future‘ with regards to MediaCityUK – and is undertaking a research project to find out what kinds of stores would appeal to BBC staff moving from London. (…what’s wrong with ‘Bags etc.’ and ‘Colony Candles’?)
That’s all for now – progress on the site appears to be moving ahead faster than ever – you can see all the latest photos in the MediaCityUK photostream on flickr.
Update: MediaCityUK has responded to the Salford Uni building changes, pointing out that space across MediaCityUK is actually being increased, rather than decreased.
Ed Burrows, Property Director at Peel Media, said: “The amendments we have submitted would enable us to offer a much more flexible, relevant proposition to prospective tenants.”
‘’We have made two planning applications to vary the volume of space available for new businesses in the approved MediaCityUK scheme, one of which takes 75,000 sq ft out of building B4 and the other adds 90,000 sq ft of office space in the MediaCityUK Studio Block. As well as representing a net increase in the amount of space available, this arrangement means we can accommodate more businesses right at the heart of the studios. Clearly this offers a major benefit to the many firms which provide supplies and services in this area, especially independents. It is just a part of our ongoing design development process in response to feedback received from the industry and highlights our commitment to ensuring that MediaCityUK can cater for a diverse range of businesses across the creative and digital sector.”
Update #2: Following the announcement earlier this week, it now looks like ITV will eventually move to MediaCityUK – but a final decision is not expected until July ’09. ITV chief operating officer John Cresswell said, “We’re in deep discussion with MediaCity and it’s something that maybe we’ll be able to announce. The key thing in this is protecting Coronation Street, which is the most valuable programme on British television. So we’re not going to rush into a decision.” You can read more at the MEN.