As Roberto Mancini concentrates on building a winning team, HH Sheikh Mansour has turned his attention to building Eastlands into the focal point of Manchester.
The club has already announced plans to develop the area around Joe Mercer Way and the North Plaza to include ‘City Street’, a brand new area for food, retail and entertainment.
Crains reported earlier in the month that engineers, Arup and cost-consultants, Turner & Townsend were selected to prepare 17 acres of land around CoMS ahead of major redevelopment plans for East Manchester. So far, only preliminary work has begun on the site, removing underground structures such as old mines, and treating excavated materials.
On top of this, the old Clayton Aniline site housing project appears to have been shelved, with reports that the area will become the home of Manchester City’s brand new £50m training complex.
It is thought that Arup may also be involved in the extension of the 47,726-capacity stadium.
This all sounds extremely exciting, but aside from the ‘City Street’ plans, what exactly is Manchester City planning to do at the other sites in and around Sportcity that would make it the focal point of Manchester?
1. CoMS site
Work has already begun on the CoMS site, which has been earmarked to become one of the countries leading tourist hotspots and the envy of the footballing world.
According to a source close to the club: ‘The club’s owners want 100,000 (visitors) a week. That’s their target.
‘It’s ambitious, but so are the club’s owners. There’s a feeling that they are putting the money into it and they have a very clear idea about the returns they would like to see.
‘It will have to be something really special or a collection of things that keep people coming into the area. The club’s owners want east Manchester to be a global destination.’
It is believed that ADUG are attempting to get the FA Museum moved to Eastlands as part of the development. Other rumoured plans include a 5-star hotel, luxury commercial office space, high-end retail and leisure facilities and a high-technology centre. Designs are yet to be released, but speculation is rife that two major iconic landmarks will be part of the plans to make Eastlands one of the main attractions of not just Manchester, but the world. Plans could be very similar to the Etihad Stadium development in Australia.
The CoMS proposal will incorporate the brand new Metrolink line which is already under construction, and will possibly involve the expansion of the canal.
Earlier plans to include the much anticipated super casino appear to have been scrapped in favour of a more family orientated proposal, although it is thought the casino will be located elsewhere in East Manchester should it be omitted from the CoMS site.
2. Clayton Aniline site
The Clayton Aniline site is thought to be the location of Manchester City’s brand new £50m training complex after the original housing project was reportedly shelved.
A club source told the Sunday Mirror of the proposal: ‘This will be much more than just a training ground. It will be the club`s headquarters and will be the envy of football.
‘It is more proof that the owners are serious about turning City into one of the biggest clubs in the world. It will also help to attract the top players because it will be the best of its kind in terms of training, medical and rehabilitation facilities.’
It is rumoured that the clubs new training ground will include around 20 pitches, a club hotel and house Academy players in on-site apartments.
The Clayton Aniline project is purely speculation at this point in time, as are most of the plans, which are yet to be officially announced.
One thing is for sure though, Manchester City’s owners are set to not only put the club on the map, but also make sure that Manchester itself reinforces its status as one of the worlds top cities.
The future is bright, the future is blue.