The original Victorian façade will be retained. Credit: via planning documents

M&G’s £39m Fountain Street overhaul to progress 

A project that will see the demolition and rebuild of Hill Dickinson’s 34,000 sq ft Manchester office has been tipped for approval by the city council’s planning team. 

Designed by Jon Matthews Architects and being led by Ask Real Estate, M&G’s proposed redevelopment of 50 Fountain Street involves the retention of the original Victorian façade. 

The rest of the building will be knocked down to pave the way for the creation of a modern 55,000 sq ft seven-storey office. 

“The proposal would have a positive impact on the regeneration of this part of the city centre,” a report by the city council’s planning officers states. 

In addition, Manchester’s planners claim the redevelopment of 50 Fountain Street would “contribute to the supply of grade A office accommodation, provide significant investment in the city centre, and create both direct and indirect employment”. 

The scheme has a net development value of £39.3m and will cost £34.1m to build, according to a viability assessment by CBRE. This represents a developer profit of £5.1m. 

Hill Dickinson occupies the grade two-listed building at present. The law firm’s lease expires in April 2024. 

Ask was appointed as M&G’s development partner for the project earlier this year.  

Construction firm Bam is lined up as main contractor for the project, according to a construction management plan submitted with the planning application.  

Renaissance is the structural engineer, Ridge is the M&E engineer, and Stephen Levrant: Heritage Architecture is advising on heritage.  

Cundall, Planit-IE, DFC, Cundall, Gardiner & Theobald are also advising on air quality, landscape, fire and cost. 

Read about the other projects in line to be consented when Manchester City Council’s planning committee meets next week.

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This looks awful the new roof extension is out of proportion with the existing frontage.

By Anonymous

They should just knock it down and start again

By Cal

It’s not often I detest proposals in Manchester but this is absurd. Considering the planning department were quick to refuse Fusion Student tower yet they will accept this. Bonkers!

By Andrew

Absolute shocker even by Manchester standards

By Loganberry

There is no shortage of Grade A office space in Manchester. Circle Square .First St, spinningfields, New Bailey, Media City, etc etc are entire districts given over to business . If you are going to alter offices in the ‘traditional’ business heart of town at least do it with some sensitivity .

By Simon Dee

The view when you walk down Mosley st of 2 at peters square rising above 79 Mosley street is great and reflects the evolution of a City. It strikes me that this will be very similar. We need grade A office space. Fact.

By Anonymous

Brave move given the fact Aviva`s new development on Fountain Street looks very empty and the city’s office workers are by no means all back at the desk. I`d love to know how much office space held on lease is surplus to requirements.

By Real Deal

Has anyone actually looked at the ugly brick built 1970’s building that they’re actually knocking down. This proposal is a significant improvement.

By Manc Man

Not needed


Manchester has loads of grade A office space. Fact. More than any other city outside London . Fact. Is building more in the many business areas around the city centre with new areas like Mayfield due to be built.Fact. Needs to differentiate its many office offerings as pointed out in PNW only last week. Also fact.This needs to be better.

By Anonymous

I support the demolition of the 1970s mess behind this but the new build element is disgusting.

They should be trying to recreate the lost Victorian building that was dropped for the current monstrosity. It really is a race to the bottom in Manchester at the moment.

By Observer

This is awful! There should be some minimum standard required from developers when they build a new building next to historic buildings. But Manchester City Council let’s developers do what they want. They should be ashamed!

By Johnny

Looks great. A vast improvement on the existing building. Keeping the Victorian facade is a nice touch.

Not sure what all the fuss is about……

What’s wrong with office space?????


The negativity on here is hilarious. Why would anybody build a 200k office scheme speculatively during a global pandemic if there wasn’t need/demand! Fact. How many different bodies doing their due diligence must have made such a mess of things to get this over the line? Fact! Have any of you stood outside 49 Spring Gardens and seen the relationship of larger buildings to smaller buildings? Fact. This looks fine and is needed. Fact. But you lot do make me chuckle!!

By Astounded

Cal, they are knocking it down and starting again 😝

By Anonymous

Hilarious really? I think your sense of humour must be very different to everyone else’s on here. It’s overbearing, and just plain ugly. No doubt it will rent though and I’ll have to pull down the blinds so I don’t have to look at it, fact!

By Anonymous

“Designed”? Pfft. Drawn by a 10 year old with a ruler more like.
How BORING can you get? Go back, start again and take more than 30 minutes this time. At least show some sympathy for the beautiful facade with materials or features.

By Bernard Fender

Wow, this really is a shocker. Can’t believe anyone would want to support this. Out of place , out of touch and not needed in Manchester.

By Anonymous

It’s not often a building is so universally derided on PNW. You can fool some of the people some of the time etc.

By Tom

Sorry but this looks to me like a contemporary office building that would be welcome in most places. It would be better if it was a floor lower but the level of debate on here is largely emotive…..’ugly………absurd……..detest’. What is it you don’t like? The height, relationship to heritage, proportions, materials? Would it be better in brick. It is easy to call things names. How would you improve it? Or should the city not progress?

By Astounded

Think I’m with astounded on this one. The area has a mix of modern buildings and beautiful historic buildings. The new ones need to look new. You will never replicate the past.

By Anonymous

The only thing I, and seemingly everyone else on here am astounded by is that anyone could find this acceptable. Development yes, Manchester is hardly short of that, but in context. This is as incongruous as a 400lb gorilla at Legoland.

By Anonymous

Sadly more name calling from anonymous which doesn’t really get us anywhere. What do you think of the new building next to the brew dog hotel? Is this better or worse or the same. Please explain what it is that you don’t like other than you don’t like it

By Astounded

What the hell are the planning department playing at allowing this garbage? The Victorian building part should be untouched and not have some glass carbuncle plonked on the top. The architects and developers should be ashamed of themselves.

By Dr B

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