Manchester has a history of attacks attributed to Irish Republicans, including the Manchester Martyrs of 1867, arson in 1920, a series of explosions in 1939, and two bombs in 1992. On Saturday 15 June 1996, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out the 1996 Manchester bombing, the detonation of a large bomb next to a department store in the city centre. The largest to be detonated on British soil, the bomb injured over 200 people, heavily damaged nearby buildings, and broke windows half a mile away. The cost of the immediate damage was initially estimated at £50 million, but this was quickly revised upwards. The final insurance payout was over £400 million; many affected businesses never recovered from the loss of trade.
Spurred by the investment after the 1996 bomb, and aided by the XVII Commonwealth Games, Manchester's city centre has undergone extensive regeneration. New and renovated complexes such as The Printworks and The Triangle have become popular shopping and entertainment destinations. The Manchester Arndale is the UK's largest city centre shopping mall.
Exchange Square during a BBC Big Screen showing of a FIFA World Cup football game.
Large sections of the city dating from the 1960s have been either demolished and re-developed or modernised with the use of glass and steel. Old mills have been converted into modern apartments, Hulme has undergone extensive regeneration programmes, and million-pound lofthouse apartments have since been developed. The 169-metre tall, 47-storey Beetham Tower, completed in 2006, is the tallest building in the UK outside London and when finished was the highest residential accommodation in Europe. In January 2007, the independent Casino Advisory Panel awarded Manchester a licence to build the only supercasino in the UK, however plans were officially abandoned in February 2008.
Since around the turn of the 21st century, Manchester has been regarded by sections of the international press, British public, and government ministers as being the second city of the United Kingdom. The BBC reports that redevelopment of recent years has heightened claims that Manchester is the second city of the UK. Manchester and Birmingham have traditionally been considered for this unofficial title.