The Factory Manchester: Cost of arts venue rises £20m

Image source, Manchester City Council
Image caption,
The Factory will host a range of dance, theatre and music performances

The cost of building a new arts venue in Manchester has risen by almost £20m, the city council has said.

It means the budget for The Factory, to be built in the city's St John's neighbourhood, will now reach just over £130m.

The increase, which is expected to be met by Manchester City Council, will be voted on later this month.

It will be funded entirely through receipts from sales of council-owned land, said a spokesman.

Construction on the 5,000-capacity venue on the site of the former Granada TV studios is expected to begin early next year.

A date for its opening is yet to be decided but the council confirmed it would play a part in the 2021 Manchester International Festival, hosting a range of dance, theatre and music performances as well as art exhibitions.

Image source, Manchester City Council
Image caption,
Artist's impression of how The Factory might look

The government has committed £78m towards the project with a further £7m Lottery funding from the Arts Council going for approval in January 2019.

But a recent review of the project identified a number of additional costs, including increased rates of inflation as well as the technical complexity of achieving the required acoustic standards for the building itself.

This last element, which had not been designed in detail when the original budget was produced, is expected to add £4.5m to the cost, the council said.

Manchester City Council is now expected to contribute £40.5m but said the additional £19m for the project would not impact on any other council budget.

Image source, johan persson/Carsten Windhorst
Image caption,
The Manchester International Festival has hosted Sir Kenneth Branagh and Bjork

Complex challenges

"The Factory will bring a £1.1bn boost to the city's economy in its first decade alone," said Sir Richard Leese, the leader of Manchester City Council.

"It is a bold and ambitious undertaking and such projects do not come without complex challenges which we have tackled head on so now we can be confident going forwards," he said.

John McGrath, CEO of the Manchester International Festival, which will manage The Factory, said it "is going to have a major impact on the lives of people living across Manchester and will transform the cultural scene in the UK."

When complete, it is expected to attract around 850,000 visitors annually.

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