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Whether or not you have bought into this area's rebrand as the 'Southern Quarter', this part of the city centre is certainly undergoing changes at the moment. Oxford Road is one of the main arteries into Manchester, stretching from Rusholme into the city centre. It hosts Manchester University, Manchester Metropolitan University, the Royal College of Music and the Northern School of Dance, which ensures a steady flow of student traffic. Smarter bar owners are slowly cottoning onto this and stylish hangouts such as Odder and Kro II are popping up amongst the fast food joints and newsagents.
One of the features of this area is how many cultural venues it boasts. Contact Theatre, by the University of Manchester, has a multicultural, youth-led focus. The Palace Theatre hosts large-scale crowd pleasers. The Library Theatre, at the end of Oxford Road, is more sedate and focuses on contemporary classics and occasional new writing. There is also the Dancehouse, which shows mainly dance productions, though they also host the occasional gig, the Greenroom with its experimental theatre and annual Kinofilm festival, and the Cornerhouse, an art gallery and arthouse cinema complex.
Music venues also stud the road, with the Manchester Academy hosting credible live music at one end of Oxford Road and the Music Box showcasing big name DJ's at the other. In between there are a few other good venues: Manchester Metropolitan University Student Union has some good clubnights; The Ritz has started getting a great reputation for live bands as well as their regular nights; Pure Space does a roaring trade in cocktails and soul music; Jillys attracts rockers and moshers from all over the country with their Allnighter.
Property in the area tends to fall into one of two categories. Oxford Road, particularly in the city centre, is lined with graceful old buildings and many of these have been converted into businesses at street level and flats above. There are also plenty of university-owned student halls and a commercial Student Village. Any property in this area is likely to be initially expensive but make good returns. After all, students and anyone who lives in South Manchester has to travel on Oxford Road to get into town...