Manchester's First Street North site given approval

The First Street North arts building
Image caption The arts building will have two theatres, gallery space and up to five cinema screens

Manchester will get a new "cultural and commercial heart" after a £80m development was approved by council.

First Street North will include an arts facility housing both Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre, a hotel and a multi-storey car park.

The eight hectare (20 acre) site will also include retail units and an outdoor performance space.

Council leader Sir Richard Leese said it was "an ambitious project" that would promote "vital growth".

The new area, which sit alongside the city council's offices in First Street, centres around the joint arts venue, which will have two theatres, 500 sq m (5,381 sq ft) of gallery space and up to five cinema screens.

'Incredible pace'

Alongside the arts building, a 208-bed four-star hotel will also be built.

Sir Richard said the development was "tremendously exciting" and showed that "against a difficult financial backdrop, Manchester is leading the way by making a major investment which is promoting vital economic - and creative - growth".

"The scheme is progressing at an incredible pace and it won't be long before the new centre starts making an enormous contribution to the cultural scene in Manchester, the North West and the UK as a whole," he said.

The project received planning approval from the city council and work is due to begin on the building later in the year. The building is due to be completed in 2014.

Dave Moutrey, director of Cornerhouse and Library Theatre Company, said it was "great news that we have reached this significant milestone on the journey to create our new home".

"Although there is still lots to do, this announcement brings the whole project a lot closer," he said.

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