Manchester is set to be home to a new cultural centre, after plans for the £19 million project were approved by the city's council.

Ask Developments has been awarded the contract to build the structure within the First Street area of the north-west city, and it is part of a larger £80 million investment programme the local authority has outlined to redevelop this part of Manchester. It will be home to a new centre for arts, leisure and culture as the council looks to give the city's most underdeveloped area a major facelift and provide a boost to Manchester's tourism industry as it hopes to encourage more and more visitors to come to the north-west area.

The green light has been given for a 500,000 sq ft floor space at the north of First Street which joins on to Whitworth Street, and will act as the focal point of the developments. Proposals will also include space for a new four-star hotel encompassing 208 beds and a home for the recently merged Cornerhouse and Library Theatre, as well as 30,000 sq ft of retail, leisure, food and beverage spaces and a 700-space multi-storey car park.

Work is due to begin by the end of the year with an estimated completion date of early autumn 2014.

Ken Knott, chief executive Ask Developments, said: "We believe that First Street North will become a genuinely unique, colourful and vibrant place capable of attracting a wide range of leisure, hotel and associated activities. The new cultural facility will form the centrepiece of this new destination, creating a distinct feel and atmosphere in this part of the city."

Manchester is currently in the midst of major development work, with the city's tram network, Metrolink, expanding to include services to areas within Greater Manchester such as Oldham, Rochdale, Droylsden and Ashton-under-Lyne. Officials are also looking to build a route to Manchester Airport which, when completed in 2016, will make the north-west home to the UK's largest tram network.

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