Design proposal

First look at St Michael’s designs

New images have emerged of the proposed designs for the £150m St Michael’s development in Manchester city centre, where all the buildings on the 1.8-acre site are expected to be controversially cleared to make way for a 700,000 sq ft scheme designed by Make Architects.

See before and after gallery below

The images emerged ahead of a press conference scheduled for Thursday when footballers-turned-developers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs are due to speak alongside council leader Sir Richard Leese and chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein to unveil the more detailed plans.

A petition to save the Sir Ralph Abercromby pub at the centre of the development site attracted 2,500 petitions.

A mixed-use scheme is proposed on the plot between Jackson’s Row, Bootle Street and Southmill Street, brought forward by a development company owned by Neville, Giggs, developer Brendan Flood and Manchester City Council.

The buildings currently on the site include the former Bootle Street police station, which has a Portland stone façade fronting Southmill Street, the United Reform Synagogue on Jacksons Row, and the Sir Ralph Abercromby pub on Bootle Street.

A replacement synagogue will be included within the redevelopment, however all the other structures are expected to be pulled down. The demolition plans, and in particular the loss of the successful Abercromby pub, have proven unpopular with members of the public and business community who feel it reflects Manchester’s lack of regard for heritage assets and cultural tradition.

While the development team have remained tight-lipped about the future of the properties on the site, indicative images show the current buildings replaced by two large blocks, sitting either side of a public realm route cutting through St Michael’s from Bootle Street to the corner of Albert Square. Part of the public realm would be built on the roof of the new synagogue and accessed by steps.

Manchester City Council approved a regeneration framework for St Michael’s in September 2015, which set the pathway to develop 130 flats, a 200-bedroom hotel, offices and public space.

St Michael’s is funded by a £150m consortium deal with Singaporean-based Rowsley and Beijing Construction Engineering Group.

Zerum is the development advisor.

Click any image below to launch gallery


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Poor. What will our ancestors think?

By Glen Pauru

This looks like St Peters Precinct in Oldham, which was bulldozed in the 80s. I hope that the real thing looks better than this picture.

By Elephant

Such character and heritage, to be replaced with utter dross.

There is no need to demolish anything in Manchester, there are acres of brownfield sites which they could build this on.

By 88

this must be a joke? that will look terrible anywhere, even more so between deansgate and manchester town hall! no thank you.

By Dave

Giggsy: “Oi Phil, let’s pull down those old buildings and build something that’ll turn a tasty profit”.

Phil: “Yeah, but didn’t Morrissey & Marr, Anthony Burgess & Frederic Engles sink a few pints in the Abercromby? And don’t you think the Southmill building is wonderfully evocative of Manchester’s history of civic pride, social justice and artistic freedoms?”

Giggsy: “Well yeah, but you’ll be able to spec that nice leather trim you wanted in your new motor if we pull ‘em down”.

Phil: “Oh, go on then”.

By A Man

I really hope this doesn’t go ahead. All those monumental buildings replaced with boxes? Whenever I am walking around Manchester city centre, I always look up, beyond the shop fronts, windows, etc to admire the historical architecture we are still lucky enough to have. Please, let’s keep this part too.

By Helen Catley

If the very passable 30’s police station is to be knocked down, it should be giving way to excellent modern architecture. Given the track record of the developers ( an appalling mess of an hotel building at Old Trafford) and their chosen architects who haven’t produced a good building since they broke away from Norman Foster’s, there is little hope. Equally, there is little hope if the visuals and master plan are to be taken seriously. Manchester has continued to feel the need to import so-called starchitects when the really plumb projects come along, usually with disastrous results. HOME being a good example of mediocre design, poor execution and terrible town planning- they have had to resort to little signs all over the place to tell people where it is when it should have been addressing Whitworth Street and animating the railway arches.
The Police Station site should be subject to a well run architectural competition.

By pal-lad-ee-oh

No one will use the public square, guaranteed. Who will seek it out and then climb a load of steps to sit somewhere with nothing in it and on the way to nowhere.

Also – save the Abercrombie.

By Ralph

Agreed. Poor. Looks dated before it’s even been built, all for improving this area but if your demolishing heritage buildings the new stuff needs to be markedly better than what is shown here.

By Matey

Personally I think this is a lovely build, beautiful modern build with a nice public square. The roads coming off from the town hall have been in desperate need of regeneration for years even though it’s an excellent location!

By Daniel

Vile. Is nothing sacred? Bootle street police stations facade is lovely. Why can’t they keep that and build a modern building behind it. Also, please please keep the Sir Ralph. It’s history especially around the Peterloo Massacre is fascinating and part of Manchester’s political heritage.

By Disgusted

Horrible. You can’t just plonk something into the historic core of the city without respect for the existing environment. Has nothing been learnt since the ‘comprehensive redevelopment’ of the 1960s/1970s. They should go back to the drawing board immediately, keep the Ralf Abercrombie and as much of the synagogue and police facades as possible and incorporate them within the proposals. The juxtaposition would be fab. This is just dire.

By Repulsed

Most of us are agreed that this is nasty.The Town hall must stop this in the same way as they intervened with that horror show at the Northern warehouse.This makes that development look like Durham cathedral. No way must this be built.It is hideous.

By Elephant

I can’t believe how many people comment about how ugly these buildings are with just 2 pictures of the exterior presented in this article and not a single one showing the overall towers as they are meant to look. Can’t wait to see this area being regenerated with modern buildings and public realm.

By A

Sad the synagogue and a couple of other parts set to go….The pics look dire..Money talks in Manchester seems….

By Schwyz

Far too often imaginative development combining the new and old is absent in Manchester . The sacrificial lambs being the heritage and history of our city . Demolition is far to often given as the only remedy . There has to be a better way of preserving the character and proud history of Manchester than the wholesale destruction that is decimating our iconic buildings daily

By Val

^ Hello Ryan.


By M40

There’s a degree of architectural vandalism going on here.

By Alan Flixton

As long as they keep the synagogue building, most of the police station, and the Abercrombie pub, this will look fine.

They are doing that, right? RIGHT??

By zebith

Well if there’s an announcement involving Dicky and Howie, its signed sealed and delivered. Let’s see what they reveal later today. Hope it doesn’t look like this abortion and that these leaked images are an in-house joke.

By tricky

Isn’t this a bit like Modus did in the last boom. Propose laughable schemes which never got delivered, but raised cash on a promise. Who is behind this, some of the old Modus chaps? Oh.

By Modus

While Manchester has need of more open space, the justification of such to legitimise a development immediately adjacent to Manchester’s most notable and refined public space is utterly non-sensical. The scale and character of the proposed development is wholly incongruous in comparison to the excellent architecture of the vicinity and of the Bootle Street Police Station itself. Additionally, the existing police station has the capacity for extension into its central courtyard to form profitable space or to be used as a public space effectively nullifying the developer’s justification for the demolition.

By Ben Carter

Very sad to see more red brick Manchester disappear and what a bit to go – a Pub used as sanctuary in our Tiananmen Square and one of the few Georgian buildings left in Manchester. I’m really sad about these proposals and as a Mancunian who loves his city I really feel this is a big big mistake we will all regret. We should be twinned with Milton Keynes not St.Petersburg the way we treat our historic buildings.

By Peterloo Massacre

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