IQ’s 55-storey tower tipped for early sign-off

The student accommodation developer’s plans to regenerate three sites in Manchester as part of a 15-year estates strategy is expected to secure initial approval from the council on the grounds that they could provide a “significant” amount of affordable housing.

A public consultation would follow Manchester City Council’s anticipated approval of IQ Student Accommodation’s estates strategy.

The company’s proposed regeneration plan could “provide high-quality residential accommodation, introduce new public realm, deliver connections that link together the mix of established city centre neighbourhoods and transformational regeneration underway in this part of the city, and provide a significant quantum of affordable and key worker housing,” a report to the council’s executive said. 

The first site that IQ has earmarked for work is on Granby Row in Manchester city centre and comprises the student apartment blocks Fairfield House and Lambert House, as well as Bainbridge House, a vacant office building that the company owns.  

IQ wants to build a “landmark” 55-storey building on the Bainbridge House site, which it says could provide a combination of hotel and co-living accommodation.  

The strategy also sets out plans to reactivate the ground floor units of Fairfield and Lambert House with commercial uses.  

IQ’s Manchester Gardens and Daisy Bank Hall in Victoria Park, close to Manchester Royal Infirmary, could also be redeveloped, to provide 300 affordable homes, under the strategy published in June. This site presents an opportunity to “reinstate a residential community in the heart of the Victoria Park Conservation Area”, IQ says.

Under the company’s vision, accommodation lost at Victoria Park would be relocated to the city centre. 

A third site, Weston Hall and the Pendulum Hotel on Charles Street, could see the redevelopment of the area to include purpose-built student accommodation alongside private residential units and ground floor retail and commercial uses.  

An informal consultation on the proposals, drawn up by architect SimpsonHaugh and planning consultancy Turley, was held in July. 

The council will now hold a further, formal consultation on the proposals, subject to sign-off from the executive committee this week. 

“The Charles Street and Granby Row Development Framework covers important but underutilised parts of the city, with the potential to significantly contribute towards Manchester’s regeneration and growth ambitions,” the report to the council said. 

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