St Michaels Dec

Design changes as St Michael’s aims for 2020 start

A series of amendments to the high-profile scheme in Manchester city centre have been put forward as the developer and contractor Laing O’Rourke aim to start on site next year.

The tweaks have come forward since architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill was brought on board earlier this year, as first revealed by Place North West. SOM is the designer behind the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and New York’s One World Trade Center.

Under the existing planning consent, secured around 12 months ago, the scheme will provide a 40-storey tower featuring 189 apartments; 216 hotel bedrooms; nearly 150,000 sq ft of offices; retail and restaurants, and a new synagogue.

The fresh changes are primarily for the commercial element of the scheme, including switching mezzanine retail and leisure space to offices, and increasing the number of storeys to 41.

It is understood the addition of a storey does not change the height of the building, but will see one floor of hotel space switched out for a plant room, to make space for additional M&E required by the hotel operator, previously reported to be W Hotels. The tweaks are expected to come forward as planning amendments in the coming weeks.

Discussions over cost with contractor Laing O’Rourke are now progressing ahead of bringing the scheme to site early next year.

Place revealed Laing O’Rourke had replaced BCEGI as main contractor in March earlier this year; BCEGI was also previously an equity partner. Laing O’Rourke is continuing to work on the scheme on a PCSA basis while costs are being agreed.

The scheme at Jackson’s Row in the city centre is being developed by ex-footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, along with Manchester City Council, and Singaporean funder Rowsley.

Developer Brendan Flood also has a stake in the development, but is negotiating an exit from the partnership. Neville and Flood are engaged in a legal battle over Flood’s use of the UA92 name; Neville is developing the UA92 sports campus in Old Trafford, which is set to welcome its first students this month.

An as-yet-unnamed development partner is understood to be in discussions about taking on Flood’s stake once an exit is concluded.

According to Neville, St Michael’s will take around take three-and-a-half years to complete, with the potential to be delivered in phases, with the commercial and hotel element delivered first, likely within two-and-a-half years. At the most recent estimates, made ahead of planning permission in March last year, the scheme had a construction value of £135m and would create 500 construction jobs.

The scheme has gone through a number of changes since plans were first unveiled in July 2016, when they featured two high-rise, black clad towers reaching 29 and 39 storeys respectively, designed by Make Architects.

The proposals would have seen the demolition of all the buildings on the site, including the Sir Ralph Abercromby pub and Bootle Street police station. The scheme inspired fierce opposition, with a petition reaching thousands of signatures, protesting against the height in such a central location, and the loss of the historic assets.

A refreshed proposal by Hodder + Partners followed in summer 2017, and include a single 40-storey lozenge-shaped tower, clad in bronze anodized aluminium. The Abercromby pub and the façade of the Bootle Street police station will also be retained as part of the revised plans.

The professional team on St Michael’s includes Zerum and Hoare Lea, while Hodder + Partners has retained a role client-side as guardian architect. The developer was contacted for comment.

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