Kampus is a bustling new neighbourhood, next to the historic Rochdale Canal, minutes from Piccadilly Station and close to the heart of Manchester’s Gay Village.
Once a hub for thousands of students, the former Manchester Metropolitan University site has been revitalised with over 500 homes for rent, lush gardens, independent bars, restaurants, cafes and creative businesses.
The evolution of a place
HBD and Capital & Centric combined forces again for Kampus, having worked successfully together to deliver Foundry, a creative workspace development, in Salford.
Kampus was born when the partners put forward proposals to acquire the 2.5-acre site from Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) in 2015. MMU wanted to work with a developer who would bring forward creative ideas to redevelop the site, which included two grade-2 listed warehouses and the once forgotten, cobbled, Little David Street.
Working with renowned Dutch architects Mecanoo – and taking inspiration from some of the most interesting places in the world – a vision was developed for a new neighbourhood, which retained as much of the character of the original site as possible, mixing new buildings and creatively-refurbished old buildings around a lush, urban garden, surrounded by places to eat, drink and relax.
HBD consulted extensively with stakeholders and received lots of positive support for the Kampus plans before planning permission was secured in 2016 and work started on site in 2017.
Several of the former university buildings were demolished to make way for new apartment buildings clad in Lancashire brick, with contemporary detailing inspired by the Victorian red-brick and stone buildings nearby.
Both listed buildings were refurbished into loft-style apartments, designed by award-winning architects, shedkm. The mid-century tower – much-loved for its brutalist aesthetic and “waffle slab” construction – was refurbished and re-clad with a contemporary façade. The former security cabin, a small concrete structure on stilts now referred to as “The Bungalow” was also retained and fitted-out as a flexible space for meanwhile activities, pop-ups and community activities.
The place to be in 2023
Fast forward to 2023 Kampus is well-established as one of Manchester’s most distinctive and inclusive new neighbourhoods. With five unique buildings, each with its own distinctive look-and-feel, residents can choose from a variety of apartment types: beautiful contemporary apartments with big windows in two new buildings, rooftop “Dutch Houses” with views of the city, loft-style apartments with exposed cast-iron, brick and timber, or mid-century apartments with exposed concrete and waffle slabs.
But Kampus is more than just a place to live, it’s a vibrant and welcoming community that encourages social connection and fosters cultural engagement. Residents have access to a fully serviced on-site gym and fitness studio, a private cinema, dining room and co-working spaces, plus roof terraces for socialising and yoga.
As well as resident activities, Kampus hosts a variety of events and festivals throughout the year, making the most of the green space and unique canal-side setting.
Kampus is also home to a variety of independent businesses, making it one of the most interesting places to hang-out in the city. Working closely with the best regional operators, Kampus has attracted a compelling mix of the best independent businesses in the region.
Craft beer and New York pizza at Nells; Great North Pie has earned rave reviews (described by one writer as “the best pie of my life on a cobbled street in Manchester”); Dim Sum kitchen Yum Cha is rapidly making a name for itself as one of the best places for Chinese food in the city; Cocktails, wines and beers are available at Red Light, Beeswing and Seven Bro7hers; Pollen bakery anchors the café culture; Madre offers amazing Mexican street food; Makers Quarter, Barkside and Kampus General Stores bring their unique offerings to the mix.
Collaboration has been key to the creation of this distinctive new neighbourhood – HBD has worked closely with its developer partner, a creative design team, various stakeholders and, of course, lots of independent businesses to make Kampus happen.
Already winning lots of accolades – including two Housing Design Awards – Kampus has quickly become Manchester’s most exciting new neighbourhood.