Bridgewater House Watch This Space p.planning docs

Snook Architects is leading on design. Credit: via planning documents

Manchester approves Bridgewater House transformation

The city council has given the green light to proposals from developer Watch This Space to convert the grade two-listed Great Jackson Street building into apartments. 

The developer bought the Georgian Bridgewater House from Renaker in 2021 before submitting plans to transform it last year. 

Working with Snook Architects, Watch This Space plans to refurbish the existing building and deliver a new-build, four-storey apartment block on part of the car park.  

In total, the Bridgewater House scheme will comprise 53 apartments; 20 within the listed building and 33 in the new-build block. 

The 23,300 sq ft building was once the headquarters of the Manchester Ship Canal Company. However, it has been derelict for the last 20 years.  

In approving the application, Manchester City Council said the development “would promote a quality neighbourhood, economic development and sustainable travel patterns” and that reusing the existing building would “make a vital contribution to rebuilding a sense of place and community through restoring the siteʼs heritage significance”.   

To learn more about the project, search for reference number 134694/FO/2022 on Manchester’s planning portal.

The project team also comprises Oriel Planning, viability consultant CBRE, as well as Stephen Levrant Heritage Architecture. 

Watch This Space’s development, which will provide a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments, is located close to the skyscrapers at Renaker’s Crown Street and Deansgate Square. 

Last month, the prolific developer unveiled plans for what will be Manchester’s tallest building at 71 storeys nearby. 

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What about the other Georgian building on the other side of the roundabout? This is currently all boarded up.This looks great.

By Elephant

Apartments? Why is it being converted into apartments? Surely this would be better placed as a boozer/restaurant/venue/food hall/shops for all the new residents. Not sure apartments are the best option for this, sorry.

By Verticality

Great Jackson Street area is going to be so dead isn’t it. Despite all the residents and skyscrapers there is nothing else there. This was a perfect opportunity to create something exciting to act as a focal point but again MCC just waive through anything

By Anonymous

There really is no excuse not to install balconies on this development. Why are the omitted yet again? Do they think residents don’t need any private outdoor space? It’s an absolutely basic amenity.

By Balcony watch

This should be used for leisure / hospitality, but hey ho.

By Tom

Agree with previous comments, particularly Verticality. It already looks like a pub!

By Anonymous

This could have had a taller extension. Just like Ancoats Dispensary, it’s a shame that the public can’t enter these spaces. Would have been a great pub or other public commercial facility.

By Low Density

Complete agree with everyone else. The building would have made a brilliant hospitality establishment. Even has a nice outdoor space. What a waste

By Tomo

As everyone else has already said, this should be retail not more flats

By Coffee boy

This site should have just been demolished and replaced with a skyscraper to add to the existing / developing cluster. I disagree with people who think there needs to be lots of bars and restaurants in the Great Jackson Street area. It’s actually nice to have a quieter residential area for the eventual ~7,000 residents. There are literally dozens of bars and restaurants within a 5 minute walk and 100s within a 10 minute walk.


When the development of this whole area, from Deansgate Square all the way up to Cornbrook, was first discussed the council said it was its desire to see the city centre extended out this way; however, a city centre is not just a collection of high density residences – this site really should have been earmarked for retail/leisure usage

By IMPerplexed

On the other hand this proposal repairs and restores another grade 2 listed building and secures its future. Why should it have been anything else? Do you have any evidence at all that it would be viable to restore a badly run down listed building for that purpose? I suspect not! Let’s look at the positives here for a change

By Ontheotherhand

14 ground floor units/amenities planned for Plot C3 across the road, restaurant at the top of Plot D, office next to Plot D, school yet to open next door too….I’m confident there will be enough for new residents in the long term

By Dave

It would appear most of the “commenters” on here haven’t done any research or know anything about the Great Jackson St Masterplan. As Dave has already mentioned, there are ground floor commercial spaces planned or being built by Renaker, a school, a doctor’s surgery, a public park and a MSCP. Have any of the readers above been to Deansgate Square or are they just ignorantly commenting? There is a General Store, multiple restaurants, bars, a coffee shop and a florist.

Hats off to the developer Watch This Space, they have taken a derelict building and are restoring it rather than waiting for it to rot and collapse. I’m sure they will have carried out their feasibility studies, it doesn’t take an educated person to realise it only really makes commercial sense to turn this plot into apartments. I again ask a question to the “commenters” above how many of you would be willing to risk your own money in a risky market with minimal returns and even more likely potential losses? In an ideal world leisure or hospitality would be perfect here but developers will not take the risk, it simply does not make business sense, I doubt Watch This Space have unlimited funds and can take on the losses.

By New Wave

Please tell me, how a beautiful building like this on a busy thoroughfare would not be financially viable as a restaurant, or high end shop? I think any restoration of this is long overdue, so I applaud this, but it would have worked as a hostelry.

By Elephant

This is becoming surreal now. Do you realise Armani have pulled out of spinningfields Elephant? What high end retail would go here. It’s a rotting listed building that is being saved. There has been no interest in this building for years which is why it is in the state it is. So why on earth would a restaurant magically appear now with a magic money tree? Unbelievable

By Ontheotherhand

Surreal, the micro climate caused by these towers means it will never work as a restaurant or retail destination, nobody uses the Deansgate Square space as it is because of the weather

By San

Stop building only dwellings and make mix uses along that street, you want pedestrians to feel safe, not Uber cabs to get crammed at the bottom of all this multi-storey housing buildings.

By D

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