Ask View To Manchester Central Beetham

Application in for Ask’s £300m Manchester Central scheme

Ask Real Estate’s plans for the redevelopment of the former Bauer Millet car showroom into a 40-storey residential building and 14-storey office block have been submitted to Manchester City Council.

Designed by SimpsonHaugh & Partners, the scheme would be built on a 1.74-acre plot behind the Manchester Central exhibition hall.

The development has been given the working name of Found Space. The residential element would include 375 flats, and form a neighbour to the slightly taller Beetham Tower on Deansgate.

The tower would be built on a podium on top of the Manchester Central goods yard, which needs to stay operational.

A 240,000 sq ft office building rising to 14 storeys would sit next to the apartments. There would be ground floor bars, restaurants and shops, with disused railway arches brought back into use along Great Bridgewater Street.

A key component of the scheme is the significant improvements to the pedestrian environment along Great Bridgewater Street by removing sections of the existing bridge, allowing natural light down to street level.

New public routes are planned to link the Deansgate-Castlefield Metrolink stop to the city centre via Watson Street, which runs between the Great Northern Warehouse and Manchester Central.

The development is being delivered in partnership with Manchester City Council, Transport for Greater Manchester and Manchester Central.

Planit-IE is the landscape architect, Curtins is the engineer, Deloitte is the planner.

Your Comments

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Great to see a different team has been pulled together to submit this scheme…..

By Bungle

Ask + Deloitte + SimpsonHaugh & Partners + Manchester City Council = Approved

By Didsbury Dave

Funny how the proposed skyscraper is slightly lower in height that Ian Simpson’s dwelling on the top of the Beetham Tower, so as not to block his view….

By David

what a shocking CGI. it is great how the Property Alliance Tower is simply shown in light colour. why not be honest and show it in the same way and therefore highlight just how much of the skyline is obliterated.

By disappointed

This is a first class example of what is wrong with Manchester at the moment. The supposed dream team and they produce something so bland it actually hurts to look at. Come on Manchester give the young practise’s a chance, this proposal is so tired.
Manchester Architects have so much more to offer than this ‘safe’ proposal. Be brave ASK and employ a new upcoming architect. The design future of our city relies on developers like ASK, however if they are afraid to employ new architects because the city will not grant them planning approval unless they use to same tired old team, what chance has the city got?

By an Ordinary Architect

This contains no architecture, but will be feebly waved through given the team involved. MCC planners: asleep on the job (at best)

By Gene Walker

Ask + Deloitte + SimpsonHaugh & Partners + Manchester City Council = exactly the same dream team that delivered the mess at First Street. Just need Carillion to complete the full set.

By Cynic

These towers, along with Cambridge Street, Beetham and upcoming Owen Street, Axis, 10-12 Whitworth St and 2-4 Chester Rd will finally give Manchester a ‘cluster’ skyline while improving the street scene. Showing there’s no need to build dark and bulky monstrosities or demolish old Police Stations, Synagogues or Pubs.

By Northern Potential

Yet another city centre boring box – do these so-called architects have no creative style let alone taste?

By Old hack

Old Hack: More like no budget I would think

By Rooney

Rooney: You could well be right – but is it beyond the power of the planning committee and staff to initiate design?

By Old hack

Pretty much – even throwing the Design Guide at them, it is difficult to force a developer to produce something decent if they don’t want to spend the money. We are too quick to blame the LPA, but developers need to recognise their responsibility to drive a quality design. They can still make a profit.

By Rooney

Whilst the level of ability as to what constitutes good design in the planning depts of MCC and Salford are below that of a toddler opening his first tub of Lego, I think Frank Gehry’s views on the state of current architecture also plays a significant part.

By Loganberry

Very impressive Manchester.

By kanyon

Where’s the magic and mystery here? That unusual selling point, that welcomes more than robots through its doors?

By P. Aradise

And so continues the gravy train…


The Beetham, Axis, 10-12 Whitworth Street and Owen Street all have their unique design features and materials. A couple of simple glass boxes here should act as nice gap fillers in that skyline. The impact this will have on Deansgate-Castlefield, specifically the pedestrian access to Watson Street and the environment along Great Bridgewater Street should be welcomed. For such a constrained site, it’s not a bad scheme!

By Northern Potential

As an interested bystander with no architectural, planning, or construction background it’s still fairly obvious that developments are seriously mediocre, and designed to pursue a narrow economic purpose. Given where Manchester has been, that’s a missed opportunity not a total disaster. What intrigues me more is how architects as a profession, collude with this, while simultaneously aspiring to something better.

By RichX

The only reason the beetham became an icon for the north is because it was so much taller than the rest… in essence, it is a glass box, this proposal is another glass box with nothing more to bring to the table. I agree with ordinary architect, allow the young practices with the enthusiasm to create something truly iconic the chance to showcase their skills.

By MancMan

Amateur skyscraper enthusiasts seem to forget that architectural features have to be paid for. If a building doesn’t make money it won’t be built. Simple as. In that sense it is the developer that calls the shots, not the architect.

Anyway, Beetham has become iconic, locally at least, because it is a great building. Extremely slim in profile, beautifully proportioned overall, highly contextual – mirroring the bulk of the Great Northern Warehouse and surrounding infrastructure, high quality cladding and enough features such as the cantilever to keep it interesting without being gimmicky, and ideally located at terminus of almost every radial road into Manchester, marking the entrance to the city.

A great building.

By Not a skyscraper geek

Its not one or the other: there are ways to add some detail while still making a profit. Furthermore, I think the implication from the commentor was that in the long term, it may pay off to provide something of better quality.

Your defence of Beetham doesn’t add anything redeeming about these. They’re hideous.

By Rooney

Simple buildings that are elegantly detailed often stand the test of time extremely well, Mies Van Der Rohe’s Seagram Building is a classic example.

The best and most enduring modernist architecture is often quietly refined avoiding the whacky shapes and weird cladding beloved of adolescent enthusiasts. These could be great.

By Not a skyscraper geek