Transport: The Metrolink tram connects the city centre with the suburbs in the north and south and is extending to Salford Quays next year. If the council gets its way, the Metrolink will be extended to Manchester Airport and Trafford Park. Manchester Airport is used by 95 airlines serving 175 destinations, and passenger capacity is expected to double to 30 million by 2005.
Prices: Century Buildings prices start as pounds 100,000 and soar to pounds 1m for the penthouse. If achieved, this will break the central Manchester record by a factor of three. Shenton Court ranges between pounds 200,000 up to pounds 350,000 or higher for two-bedroom flats of 1,200 to 1,800 square feet. "My prices will depend on what happens with Crest," says Birch. In Castlefield, Gleeson's M3 has 28 new flats, from pounds 90,000.
Properties: The city has 2,227 residential units being built, 95 with planning consent and 713 awaiting decisions. Crosby Homes' 103-unit Deansgate Quay and Crest Nicholson's Century Buildings "will set new standards in terms of design, accommodation and specification, which Knight Frank believes will appeal to an increasingly sophisticated city-centre market". (Knight Frank's Regional Residential Development Review, March '99)
Whistle-wetting: Greater Manchester restaurants serve up more than 30 national cuisines, and the city centre alone has more than 250 pubs, clubs and cafe-bars.
Rubble Rousers: Major commercial projects include an International Convention Centre, a pounds 20m entertainment scheme, the Arndale Shopping Centre completion, a massive Marks & Spencer, and improvements to existing museums, galleries, retail and leisure outlets.
Save these Dates: For 10 days starting 26 July 2002, the XVII Commonwealth Games will be held in Manchester. Cricket, ice hockey, basketball, tennis, swimming and cycling as well as football are big in Manchester, whose National Cycling Centre in the Velodrome is the nation's only indoor cycling track.
The Numbers Game: The local authority says that 60 per cent of the UK population is within two hours' driving time. But Manchester's population overall is projected to decline slightly.
Contacts: Century Buildings 0161-833 1666; Gleeson 0161-428 4299; Shenton Court 0161-832 4777; Urban Splash 0161-237 9499.