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Last Updated: Friday, 13 June, 2003, 09:32 GMT 10:32 UK
Ex-Dome chief joins 5m rescue bid
Great Northern complex, viewed from Deansgate
Retailers say the Great Northern complex has not attracted visitors
The man who used to run the Millennium Dome has been charged with reviving a struggling shopping and leisure complex in Manchester.

The Great Northern development has been given a 5m lifeline after failing to attract enough retailers and visitors.

The site covers 12 acres between Deansgate and the GMEX convention centre and contains a cinema, pubs, shops and car parks.

But many units are still vacant two years after the complex opened and the cinema has ditched nearly half of its screens.

Pierre Yves Gerbeau will now be responsible for reviving the 70m complex, which has been bought into by asset managers Capital and Regional.

By the back end of next year we should really start to see this motoring
Gordon McKinnon, Manchester City Centre Manager
Retailers have complained the development has failed to attract the number of visitors they were told to expect.

When it was opened, it was expected to bring shoppers to an area of the city centre which has never been popular with shoppers before.

Mr Gerbeau said he wanted to improve on all areas of the complex.

He said: "It's not about who is going to pay the most rent.

"You've got to create the right conditions so that the brands, the retailers and food and beverage and leisure match what you want to do.

Five star hotel

"If you do not have a consistent experience, you are just not going to deliver."

Manchester City Centre Manager, Gordon McKinnon, said he hoped the complex would take off when other nearby developments opened.

These include the five star Radisson Edwardian Hotel on the former site of the Free Trade Hall and the Spinningfields business and residential development.

He said: "Vacancy rates in the core retail area [of Great Northern] are almost at zero and we know there are a number of retailers - well over 100 - still looking for space in the city centre of Manchester, so there is demand out there.

"My guess is, as next year sees the opening of the Radisson Edwardian hotel and commencement of some of the opening of the Spinningfields development and the completion of those residential apartments, by the back end of next year we should really start to see this motoring."

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