Enhancing communities
Improving The Environment
Working Together

Project Description

Back in 1999, Muse Developments (and, at that time, Crosby Homes) came together to form Ician Developments and began a unique collaboration with Manchester City Council to advance the regeneration of Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Although now widely accepted, the idea of creating a mixed-use development – where people could live, work and enjoy their leisure time – in the city centre was then considered to be a radical idea. A central aspect of the project was the need to retain the character and heritage of the area while blending in new buildings. Ician has developed 318 apartments, in three phases, together with a highly successful mix of ground floor uses, including offices, art galleries, cafe bars and shops. A fourth phase, comprising the 230 bedroom 4/5 star Crowne Plaza hotel, opened for business in September 2008. The scheme has three further phases planned, including another hotel and a new public square, both granted planning permission in 2009. Also on the agenda is the regeneration of the Mackie Mayor Building; as a listed building it requires sensitive restoration but Ician are committed to maximising its use.

Responsible business

Enhancing communities

Enhancing communities

The Smithfield development has delivered an award-winning mixed-use development and restored local pridein what was previously widely regarded as a ‘no-go’ area. The award winning first phase comprised the refurbishment of the former historic fishmarket walls and the regeneration of a Grade One listed building to create a large public courtyard framed by new and old buildings. The second and third phases, completed in 2006, include 62 affordable homes for the Riverside Housing Association, plus shops and cafes to benefit the whole local community.


The neighbourhood has evolved its own personality, and has become an important component of the wider regeneration of the Northern Quarter – a place where creativity, music, art, design and craft all flourish within its compact network of streets.


The development has also seen Ician contribute more directly to community projects. For example, they helped locate a venue for Projekts, a Manchester-based community group who provide facilities for young people based around skateboarding. Within a month of opening a facility in the Mackie Mayor Building in late 2001, they had signed up over 600 new members from all over Manchester, including from some of the less privileged areas of the city.

Improving The Environment

Improving The Environment

A one-way system on the streets adjacent to the scheme permits a smooth flow of traffic, and the scheme itself benefits from being located immediately adjacent to Manchester’s new Transport Interchange. The development of the Church Street car park and the remodelling of Stevenson Square are expected to encourage further investment and new kindsof uses in the Northern Quarter asa whole.

Working Together With Our Supply Chain

Working Together With Our Supply Chain

The Smithfield development has been based on a partnership model, which minimised risk to the client, Manchester City Council. The land was initially transferred to Ician for no cost, with subsequent financial returns split between Manchester City Council and Ician using an agreed ratio. The ratio was weighted in favour of Ician (80:20) until the development reached a degree of maturity when it was adjusted to 50:50.


The fourth phase of the Smithfield development has seen the development and opening of the luxury Crowne Plaza hotel, which according to Ician Developments director Mike Payton has transformed Smithfield into a true visitor destination. Payton says: “It is trading well in what are challenging times and creating a new vibrancy that will undoubtedly benefit existing businesses in the area… The development of the site has been a huge success story and is one thatwill continue to reap benefits for the local area”.


Smithfield has helped provide a home for an increasing number of small, independent businesses who are establishing themselves in the Northern Quarter. Ician have helped a numberof small businesses (and some big ones too) participate in a key regeneration area, including two galleries, bar, restaurant, media company and hair studio.


Ician also helped establish the Manchester Farmers’ Market, a partnership between Manchester Markets, Ician and the National Farmers’ Union. It was initially located in front of the old fish-market façade, and notable as the first city centre Farmers’ Market in the North West. Now relocated in Piccadilly Gardens, the Farmer’s Market helps promote healthy eating, local employment and reduce food miles, and widens the retail choice offered in the city centre.


Future phases will include another hotel, bespoke commercial elements and a new central public space – Smithfield Square. This mixed-use approach has already attracted many new businesses and residents to the Northern Quarter and continues to act as a catalyst for further investment.


"Flagship schemes, such as Smithfield, have set a lead, which others are now following."

Manchester City Centre Strategic Plan 2009-2012
Manchester City Council / Cityco


"Smithfield has been transformed beyond all recognition. What was once an univiting area is now a place where people want to live, work and invest"

Mike Payton
Director, Ician Developments