Manchester eyes Parsonage as next regeneration area

An ambitious strategy to revitalise the area from House of Fraser to Albert Bridge has been drawn up by the council and major landowners. Proposals include demolishing Albert Bridge House to build a new office or hotel tower with large floorplates.

The draft framework submitted to Manchester City Council’s executive has proposed St Mary’s Parsonage, an area which includes land from Deansgate to the River Irwell, as a neighbourhood which could deliver “a unique offer” for the city.

The framework area is bounded by Blackfriars to the north and Bridge Street to the south. There are three zones in the framework area, North Parade around Parsonage Gardens, King Street West and Albert Bridge.

Parsonage SRF2

According to the report, a “substantial proportion” of development would be anticipated between 2021 and 2025, although this would be dictated by the landowners in the area.

Proposals in the strategic regeneration framework include:

  • Albert Bridge House, developed in 1950s and now owned by Mapeley, 18-storey building on Bridge Street would make way for a “large-floorplated” office or hotel. Occupier the Manchester Centre for Health & Disability Assessments, is due to relocate by 2022 to nearby Three New Bailey as part of a public sector hub. The scheme could expand to include the neighbouring surface car park pending agreement with NCP
  • Kendal Milne Building, occupied by House of Fraser, owned by South African asset manager Investec. A change of use for part of the building will be considered by the freeholder who has “recognised the need to develop a longer-term strategy for the 400,000 sq ft building” and will seek “sustainable retail use whilst also considering alternative uses on the upper floors”
  • NCP multi-storey, known as Kendals car par. Conversion proposed into an office, with retail on ground floor. The council owns a long-leasehold on the car park and would enter into a joint venture partnership with NCP to redevelop
  • Reedham House and No.3 St Mary’s Parsonage: The buildings which sit behind the car park are earmarked for either commercial or hotel, along with retail and leisure units at ground floor
  • Public realm. Parsonage Gardens is “an under-utilised hidden gem”, considered “unwelcoming” due to the lack of “active frontages, the waste management arrangements, and the vehicular dominated routes”. In tandem with Motor Square, a public realm strategy would be developed to attract more people to use the gardens

As retail proposals emerge, the council report has asked developers to look for occupiers who could create “an area for craft, culture, and a ‘made in Manchester’ type branding.”

Albert Bridge house

Albert Bridge House would be demolished and replaced

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Albert Bridge House is a very nice and early example of international style modernism and it seems a real shame to demolish it.

Guess the listing/ immunity from listing process will flush that out.

By Modernism Fan

…early example in Manchester

By Anonymous


By Anonymous

I agree that Albert Bridge House is a good example of modernism in Manchester, get rid of the surface car parks around the site and create proper access and views to the river though. ‘Albert Bridge Gardens’ is definitely the joke of the area.

By Aaron

Classic that no thought has been made to the riverside. Waterfrontage is the most valuable public space of any city and it really says a lot about a city that turns its back to the waterfront. Manchester has the potential for a wonderful innercity river, but it is currently overgrown, rundown and extremely unpleasant. I would have hoped that in a regeneration plan, the riverside would take centre stage


Here we go again Manchester….demolish an interesting building like Albert Bridge House and replace it with some cheap dross. Depressing news.

By Loganberry

EOD is right. Manchester is as rubbish at rivers as it is at parks.

By Elephant

Be a shame to see that building demolished, it’s grubby as anything but I genuinely think it’s a great looking building.

Terrible street level interaction is it’s biggest fault in my view – which is largely the fault of the parking surrounding it.

And again – absolutely no effort to do anything in terms of interaction along the river front. It’s a grim bit of river, but that’s as much a fault of the buildings surrounding it as it is anything else.

By daveboi

Hope Highways will be looking at this in collaboration with the Bee Network team; the streets are a dog’s dinner at the moment.

By Active Travel Trev

Totally agree – make the most of the river and create a public realm.

By Yayo

Albert Bridge House is an absolute eye-sore and should be demolished ASAP.

By New Wave

I agree with most of the comments that Albert Bridge House is worth saving it clearly needs cleaning up and no doubt an internal refit but it is a really interesting building of its era.

By Lenny1968

The river is so far down from street level there that, aside from a walkway, I’m not really sure what else people expect could come forward?

By Anon

As mentioned above, Manchester is rubbish at public spaces and the general environment period. All these councilors harping on about Manchester being a world class city are delusional. Yes it certainly has the potential to be a world class city, but at the moment we are nowhere close. At least get the basics right first…it saddens me to walk around the city and see the state of the roads, the homeless, the poor state of the pavements (some are so bad its actually safer to walk on the actual road).

Take a look at the waterways; canals overgrown with weeds, the same for the rivers that run through the city, litter everywhere…on my route to work I’ve been walking past some of the same discarded rubbish that’s been there for about 9-10 months. Even the railway arches have weeds growing out of the brickwork..Do the councilors not see this stuff? Other cities get these things right, why can’t we? I’d really like to here from these people in the Town Hall as to why our city is so poor at this stuff….world class city! Make it a clean, great, pleasant, welcoming city first, and one day world class might be achieved.

By Manc Man

Albert Bridge Gardens should be cleaned up. It’s a mess. But could be a lovely place to sit and watch the river.

By Mark Readman

Sounds like a plan.

By Nic

I need to pinch myself, do people really think this eye sore is interesting, it should’ve been demolished long time ago

By Anonymous

Iconic building should not be knocked down.

By Manc

Completely agree with Manc Man….get the basics right before redeveloping. The Council is just papering over the cracks at the moment. The state of the roads and pavements in the city centre is a disgrace and nowhere near ready for the huge footfall increase which will be happening over the coming years.

Albert Bridge Gardens is a pointless area and needs to be brought up to street level. If Albert Bridge House is demolished, then a new river walkway/pocket park needs to be included and managed by the land owners.

There is huge potential here if it’s done right.

By Steve

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