Shul achieves its rebuilding goal with help from Neville and Giggs
A multi-million pound redevelopment of a Manchester city shul - backed by football personalities Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs - has been green-lighted by the city council.
Manchester Reform Synagogue, also known as Jackson's Row, will be transformed into a community centre with state of the art facilities as part of a wider £240 million project overseen by the former players and Burnley Football Club director Brendan Flood that will include a five-star hotel and retail, residential and office spaces. It is scheduled for completion in 2018.
The shul will use a nearby Quaker meeting house during the rebuilding. The plans are for a 200-seat banqueting hall, library and kosher cafeteria complementing a synagogue area with a 540 capacity. There will also be a terrace for a succah. The current stained glass windows and ark will be retained.
Manchester Reform president Danny Savage said the present building was constructed in 1952 after its predecessor was destroyed in a German bombing raid in 1941. The redevelopment would "revitalise our community. It's not just about a new building. It's about the Jackson's Row community surviving and thriving for generations to come.
"We'll be able to generate income from the extra car parking spaces and the banqueting hall. We are expecting to host lots of events in there."
The planning team had taken inspiration from Jewish community centres in Amsterdam and Prague.
Mr Savage added that he had talked about the project "dozens of times" with Mr Neville and that the Manchester United star turned football pundit "wants to make it a success for us and a success for him and his partners".