Downing 6

Downing's scheme was designed by SimpsonHaugh

Manchester co-living schemes return for decision

Having failed to win consent last month, two co-living schemes from developers Vita Group and Downing totalling more than 3,000 bedspaces, have been lined up for approval next week. 

First Street 

Downing 4

Downing’s scheme would provide accommodation fro more than 2,000 people

Developer: Downing  

Architect: SimpsonHaugh  

Planner: Deloitte Real Estate  

Downing’s project had been recommended for approval at last month’s meeting but was deferred so that a site visit could take place. 

The developer and contractor wants to create a 2,224-bedroom co-living scheme at Manchester’s First Street, including a 45-storey tower alongside three blocks stepped in height.  

Block breakdown  

  • Of the three blocks, one, located on the corner of Hulme Street and Wilmott Street, would step up in height from 10 to 18 storeys and then again to 22.  
  • A second, at the corner of Chester Street and Wilmott Street would rise from 18 storeys, to 22 and finally up to 26.  
  • The third block, fronting Mancunian Way, would decrease from 17 storeys to 13 and then 10, stepping down from the road towards the centre of the site.   

Downing bought the site, Plot 11 on the edge of First Street, from investment manager Patrizia last March for around £18m.   

The developer submitted plans for the scheme in January, including more than 2,200 bedrooms and 44,000 sq ft of amenity and surrounding public realm.  

The flats would be split between 11 accommodation types, ranging from compact studios to five-bedroom apartments.  

The co-living proposals include 1,113 apartments, divided between one-, two-, three-, four-, and five-bedrooms, along with 1,091 studio apartments.  

Downing, which would construct the scheme, wants to start on site this year subject to approval. 

Water Street 

Union Living Towers 2

The two Vita co-living towers Credit: Our Studio

Developer: Vita Group and Manchester Quays, a joint venture between Allied London and Manchester City Council

Architect: Denton Corker Marshall  

Planner: Deloitte Real Estate  

Having bought two sites on Water Street within the St John’s area of the city centre from developer Allied London last year, Vita wants to build a pair of co-living towers comprising 762 apartments – totalling more than 1,600 bedspaces – under its Union Living brand. 

The first, a 36-storey tower comprising around 800 bedspaces, was approved by the planning committee last month. 

The second tower, at 32 storeys, was minded for refusal by councillors on the grounds that it comprised too many units – 870 bedspaces across 350 units – and lacked parking provision for disabled people. 

Officers have said that the objections put forward at last month’s meeting cannot be substantiated and have recommended that the scheme be approved. 

Although one of Vita’s towers is four storeys taller than its neighbour, the 36-storey building provides fewer flats due to the fact that three floors are given over entirely to 21,500 sq ft of co-working space.  

Both towers would provide 180 studio apartments, available only on short-term lets of up to six months.  

The remaining units across the two towers would be two-, three- or four-bedroom co-living apartments.  

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