Case Study – Quayside, MediaCity

Leasing Brochure Quayside Media City
WhatifGroup were asked by Peel L&P (part of the Peel Group, one of the leading infrastructure, transport and real estate investors in the UK, with collective investments owned and under management of+ £5bn) in early 2021 to help them develop a new strategy for the re-named, former Lowry Outlet Mall, located next to one of the UK’s most prestigious regeneration projects, MediaCity and the well-known Lowry Theatre.
The outlet mall had not really clicked since it opened in 2001, when Salford Quays was a very different place and as MediaCity had developed, it had become evident that its issues were magnified by its lack of synergy from the great place that was developing around it.
Whatif… set about researching the whole stakeholder base and understanding the nuances of place that existed at Media City and Salford Quays. We developed a series of documents that we shared with Peel plus key stakeholders including Salford Council, led by the theme One City, One Place, One Town, One Team. From there we had to develop a strategy that was simple and plausible for the onsite team to follow, for the team at MediaCity who were being asked to lead on the transformation and of course the key stakeholders including the Council and potential anchor occupiers.

When we started, it was clear to see that Quayside’s demise had been accelerated by the pandemic and it needed an injection of adrenalin.
In all places that have been suffering for a time, it is as critical to re-build confidence and clear vision in the people, as much as making changes to the built environment. The strategy needs to be multi-faceted by underpinning the foundations of place, connecting with the local community, at the same time as demonstrating the potential for change in was what widely regarded as a failing proposition.
After a period of c 12 months, we developed a Storybook, visualising a new strategy in a series of precedent images and narrative that could be used to show the wider team including consultants, and potential occupiers of the amazing opportunity that existed in an incredible waterfront location.
The strategy was all about Quayside re-emerging to serve as amenity space for its place at the heart of Salford Quays, with a mixed-use feel including essential services for the growing workforce, residential base and visitor economy. With the retail content reducing to c 35 % of income the new focus was a multi-service environment and no longer a shopping centre.
Just over 2 years in, we have helped deliver the following.
  • a cost-effective refurbishment of the food -court,
  • brought in various community groups on meanwhile uses, created a growing arts and social enterprise culture called Salford Loading…
  • a new 15,000 sq ft Indy food hall, Kargo Mkt, (by the founders of the award-winning Cutlery Works in Sheffield) a new micro-brewery and gin distillery by the award-winning local brewery Seven Brothers (both due to open in July 23) at Central Bay, the new south-facing waterfront destination. One of the biggest strengths of these lettings is the family feel that it will create by the nature of the host businesses being both family owned.
  • a c 10,000 sq. ft pre-let to UCFB (University Campus of Football Business)
  • developed a new concept of c 40,000 sq. ft called the Well-Comm Centre anchored by a 10,000 sq. ft NHS branded GP Surgery and in discussion with various public and private sector health and well-being providers.
  • Secured an offer for a 40,000 sq. ft leisure and entertainment venue.
  • as importantly we have helped Peel develop a very focussed and motivated team who are now excited to be delivering transformational and totally unique improvements to Quayside.
WhatifGroup are grateful to Steve Wild and the Team at Peel L&P for the opportunity, and proud to have helped in such an incredible re-imagination of this asset. Quayside is now set to fit comfortably within its location and grow as the amenity centre of the existing and emerging community at Salford Quays and the growing visitor economy.
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