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Salford Quays is an area of Salfordmarker in Greater Manchestermarker, England, near the end of the Manchester Ship Canal. Previously the site of Salford Docksmarker, it became one of the first and largest urban regeneration projects in the United Kingdom following the closure of the dockyards in 1982.

In 2007 it was confirmed that the BBC would be moving several of its departments to a new Media City, currently under construction on Pier 9.


Built by the Manchester Ship Canal Company, Salford Docks were the larger of two sections which made up Manchester Docksmarker; the other being Pomona Docks to the east. They were opened in 1894 by Queen Victoria and spanned of water and of land. At their height the Manchester Docksmarker were the third busiest port in Britain, but due to containerisation and the limit placed on vessel size by the ship canal, the docks declined swiftly during the 1970s.. The docks finally closed in 1982 resulting in the loss of 3,000 jobs.

In 1984 Salford City Councilmarker acquired Salford Docks from the Ship Canal Company with the use of a derelict land grant. The area was rebranded as Salford Quays and redevelopment began in 1985 under the Salford Quays Development Plan.


The Lowry

Early in the redevelopment plan for Salford Quays, the potential was recognised for the area to host a landmark arts venue. Initially referred to as Salford Quays Centre for the Performing Arts in 1988, it became known as The Lowry Project in 1994 and had secured £64 million in funding by 22 February 1996.

The Lowrymarker today stands at the end of Pier 8, largely surrounded by the waters of the Manchester Ship Canal. Designed by James Stirling and Michael Wilford, it opened on 28 April 2000 and houses the 1730 seat Lyric theatre, the 466 seat Quays theatre, a range of studio spaces and of gallery space. In addition there are cafes, bars and a restaurant on the south-western end of the building, with views over the water to Libeskind's Imperial War Museum Northmarker. As the name suggests, the centre is associated with L. S. Lowry, and houses a unique collection of his work. Some of the pieces are on permanent display, whilst others are on loan and may appear in changing exhibitions where appropriate.

Media City UK

In 2007, it was confirmed that the BBC would be moving five of its departments to a new development on Pier 9, to be called mediacity:uk. The Mediacity:UK project is being developed by Peel Holdings Group. The departments to be moved are BBC Children's, BBC Children's Learning, BBC Sport, BBC Radio Five Live, and parts of BBC Future Media and Technology (including a small number from BBC R&D), involving about staff. The move, expected to be completed by 2011, marks a major decentralisation of the corporation's operations, and will represent the BBC's largest presence outside of London. The arrival of the BBC is expected to attract other media, broadcasting, and filmmaking companies to the area.

It is claimed that mediacity:uk will create up to jobs and add £1bn to the regional economy over 5 years.


The Lowry Outlet Mall contains numerous outlet stores of well-known high street businesses, including Cadbury's, Marks & Spencer and Costa Coffee. The mall also contains popular coffee shops and convenience food chains, and a multi-screen cinema operated by Vue. Outside the mall, a bar and several restaurants overlook the Lowry plaza.

The head office of GMG Radio is also based on Salford Quays, with the company's flagship stations 105.4 Real Radio, 100.4 Smooth Radio and 106.1 Rock Radio based within their Laser House studio complex. Standing at the head of Erie Basin (Dock 9), Anchorage is a complex of several buildings, home to BUPA and Barclaycard. To the north side of Erie Basin stand the Victoria and Alexandra buildings.


The NV Buildings
Some of the first developments in Salford Quays were residential, initial builds consisting of traditional low-rise flats and town houses in Grain Wharf and Merchants Quay. As the area has prospered, more high-rise buildings have been constructed to increase housing density on the naturally limited pier space. Because of this premium on space, apartments have also been constructed on the opposite side of Trafford Road to the Quays.

Low Rise

  • Merchants Quay was one of the earliest residential areas, constructed during the mid-to-late 1980s. It is on East Wharf South (Pier 6), originally referred to as the 'posh side' of the Quays due to its popularity with soap stars from Coronation Streetmarker and city centre high-fliers. Merchants Quay consists largely of terraced town houses and mews properties, with only one block dedicated to flats. The development is bordered on its southern side by South Bay (Dock 6) and by the St. Francis, St. Louis, and St. Peter basins to the north, which provide habitats for fish and waterfowl and are popular with local anglers. Properties on the western edge of the pier overlook the Imperial War Museum Northmarker and Lowry Bridge over the Quays turning circle; the largest expanse of water at Salford Quays. The development is linked to Pier 7; the business-orientated Waterfront Quay, located on the north side of the basins on East Wharf North.

  • Grain Wharf is located at the centre of the Quays, and consists of three matching developments: Winnipeg Quay and Vancouver Quay to the west of Mariners Canal, and St. Lawrence Quay to the east. Its name derives from the land's previous use, when imported grain was delivered by ship and transferred to the railway network that ran the length of Pier 8 (Central Wharf). Built between 1985 and 1995, Grain Wharf consists of a combination of two and three bedroom town houses and apartments, none exceeding four stories in height. Many of the properties have been positioned to take advantage of the views over Huron and Erie Basin (Dock 9) and Mariners Canal, with a number of town houses in Winnipeg and Vancouver Quay facing onto a landscaped garden square. The development is noted for its distinctly symmetrical layout across Mariners Canal, which was added to link the cleaned water of Ontario Basin to the south and Erie Basin to the north for water sport; the watersports centre is directly opposite Vancouver Quay. Vancouver and St. Lawrence Quays are linked by a footbridge over the canal, and by The Quays road.

  • Labrador Quay consists of five three-storey apartment blocks close to the far end of Erie Basin, completed in 2003. Accessed via the St. Lawrence Quay cul-de-sac, the buildings are quite inconspicuous due to the waterside tree planting and their location behind both The Lighthouse offices and Anchorage buildings. Two of the buildings face directly onto the water of Erie Basin, while the others are angled around communal gardens.

High Rise

  • Imperial Point was the first of the high-rise residential buildings on the Quays: a 16-storey tower built alongside the Lowry Outlet Mall on Pier 8 (Central Wharf) in 2001. Finished in sand-coloured cladding with grey and steel finishes to the roof, service cores and balconies, the lower levels are integrated into the mall itself.

  • Sovereign Point is the sister building to Imperial Point, located towards the rear of the Lowry Outlet Mall. It is the tallest tower in Salford Quays, and the third tallest in Salford, at . Completed in 2005, its 20 stories are entirely residential, save for some commercial units at ground level, including Sovereign Food and Wine, the Quays first grocery store. The tower has had its share of controversy regarding its design, which is regarded by some to provide a poor aesthetic on all but the water-facing elevation. It is also in stark relief to the neighbouring low-rise Winnipeg Quay.

  • The NV Buildings were designed by Broadway Maylan and completed between 2004 and 2005. The development consists of three 18-storey residential towers, each in height. Costing £36m, they stand in a line overlooking Huron Basin from the waterside of Pier 9 (North Wharf), their curved frontages designed to represent sails. At night, each of the buildings is illuminated by four green lights atop curved poles, plus a single green flood light to either side. The 'Type 3' apartment in the NV Buildings won gold for 'Best Apartment' in 2004 'What House?' awards.

  • City Lofts construction began in 2005 and was completed in late 2007. The development consists of two linked towers: one 9 stories, the other 19 stories. These towers sit on land adjacent to the bund carrying The Quays road, which separates the Manchester Ship Canal from the cleaned water of the Salford Quays basins. The apartments feature interior design by Conran & Partners. Interest in the development was limited, due to the slump in the housing market, and in July 2008, City Lofts was forced to place all its unsold apartments, including many at Salford Quays, into receivership.


In 2003, Salford Quays was the venue for the first International Triathlon Union World Cup event to be held in the UK. It has since become an annual event held at the end of July each year, although the 2008 event was cancelled because of a clash with the Beijing Olympics.

A watersports centre was opened in 2001, providing Royal Yachting Association recognised training in sailing, canoeing, rowing, and windsurfing.


Salford Quays is part of a joint tourism initiative between Salford City Councilmarker and Traffordmarker Borough Council, supported by private sector partners including The Lowrymarker, Imperial War Museum Northmarker, Manchester United F.C., Lancashire County Cricket Club, Lowry Outlet Mall and the Golden Tulip and Copthorne Hotels; working in partnership with Marketing Manchester. Salford Quays forms one part of the area known as The Quays, which also includes Trafford Wharf and Old Trafford, on the Manchester side of the ship canal.


A Metrolink tram crosses the Ship Canal at Pomona
Part of the success of Salford Quays is its Metrolink route to Manchester city centremarker which was opened in 1999, and its link to Ecclesmarker which opened in 2000. The section of the Eccles Line from Pomonamarker to Broadwaymarker serves the Salford Quays area. Trams operate every 12 minutes throughout the day and every 12–15 minutes on Sundays. Commuter services into Salford Quays are often extremely busy, and the Eccles Metrolink line faces many delays, frequently due to vandalism around the Langworthy Road area. Current bus services are patchy and infrequent to and from The Quays. A new Metrolink station is due to open at Mediacity:uk in 2010.

Salford Quays and the Trafford Wharf area are eaily accessible from the M602 Motorway and major arterial routes from The Trafford Centremarker, Manchester city centre, Salfordmarker and Old Traffordmarker. Many main routes around the quays are high-quality dual-carriageway routes, built after the demise of Salford Docksmarker.


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