After the 1996 bombing, Manchester's much-loved Corn Exchange morphed into the Triangle, supposedly a high class shopping mall.
Lack of commercial success has now led to the re-branding of the centre, with the old Corn Exchange name making a comeback. Maybe it was hoped that this would strike a chord with locals and entice them back in.
But once they're in, they need a reason to stay, never mind to return. And right now, that's what the centre needs to work on.
On a sunny day, it's a wonderfully bright space to wander round, and used to be really nice upstairs with the quirky "pod" that houses the cafe and a few big sofas where you could sit and chill out. I went looking for a sofa, as my feet were killing me from walking round the city all day. Alas, on the upper level I discovered that only one of these couches remains and it now looks very scruffy and ripped. Not exactly in keeping with the "high end" aspirations! To add insult to injury, I spotted a couple of more respectable-looking sofas languishing behind locked doors inside an empty shop unit. So much for my comfy seat.
And speaking of empty units, there are far too many of these. It was a bit sad to see the place looking so deserted. The upstairs section of the Jigsaw shop is now closed and they trade only from the ground floor: which is a great pity, because the staircase of that unit features some gorgeous tiling work. However, the stairs are now blocked off to customers so you can only peek at the tiles from the shop floor.
There was one interesting new shop open on the ground floor, selling posh-looking furniture and homewares, and the Caffe Nero upstairs was also doing some modest trade, so at least people are still finding their way to the centre: but not enough yet to recapture the vibe of the original Corn Exchange.
I'd love to give the place a higher rating, but can't realistically do so due to its current semi-deserted state. I'm sure the management are working on ways to bring in new tenants and increase footfall and I really hope they can turn the place around, because it's such an iconic part of Manchester's culture.
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