Ask/Carillion earmark Manchester Central plot for £300m project

Ask Real Estate and Carillion have bought a 1.74-acre site next to Beetham Tower, and is drawing up plans for a 750,000 sq ft mixed-use scheme designed by SimpsonHaugh & Partners.

The former Bauer Millett car showroom site is located next to the Beetham Hilton Tower and Manchester Central, next to the Metrolink tram line which runs between Deansgate-Castlefield and St Peter’s Square. The plot was sold by the family owners of the showroom.

A scheme on the site will be delivered in a partnership between Ask, Manchester City Council, Transport for Greater Manchester and Manchester Central.

Large-scale scheme by Ian Simpson was unveiled at MIPIM 2010

According to Ask and Carillion, early development proposals envisage a mix of uses comprising commercial offices, hotel, retail and leisure, residential and car parking which could total more than 750,000 sq ft to a value of around £300m.

The plans would echo a scheme first proposed for the site in 2010, also designed by SimpsonHaugh, then Ian Simpson Architects. The project included three high-rise blocks and public realm.

No images of the new proposals were available.

Earlier this year, Ask announced that it had sold a majority stake in the business to construction giant Carillion, buying out founding Ask shareholders Andy Dodd, Ken Knott, Simon Bate, and Simply Red singer Mick Hucknall.

John Hughes, managing director of Ask, said: “Our new corporate relationship with Carillion, which was only completed in January, has given us the platform to move quickly to acquire this prime piece of real estate in the city centre. I am looking forward to us working in partnership with MCC, TfGM and Manchester Central and evolving our exciting development proposals before submitting a detailed planning application later this year.”

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Looks like a good scheme. Along with Axis (if it ever gets off the ground) this should provide a little cluster around the Beetham. Will be interesting to see what the impact on Manchester Central will be as the upper level service area is often filled with exhibition vehicles. Urbanitymcr.

By Urbanitymcr

Manchester needs to change its name to Simpsonville. Its getting beyond a joke now. The only looser will be Manchester.

By an ordinary architect

@an ordinary architect sounds a little bitter/jealous. Ian Simpson is incredibly passionate about Manchester (his home town). Perhaps you could be too.

By AJD1984

Ask, Carillion, SimpsonHaugh and MCC. It’s practically the same dream team that foisted the utter garbage that is First Street North on the city. Oh dear.

By Money's too tight to mention

Carl Simpson is behind a lot of the concepts, Ian’s often just the frontman.

By Jeff Suster

Oh what a surprise, another Simpson Haugh. You sometimes wonder if there are actually any other architects in existence in Manchester! Thankfully, the interesting design of Axis Tower (work started last week apparently) will inject some excitement next to the inevitable boredom of yet another Simpson development

By David

The horror of First Street, two new big bland towers, the Locks and the shadow of the Beetham Lego tower. This area is doomed

By Gregg

This is a fascinating area, The colourful buildings of First Street create a great urban landscape peering over the arches followed by the new Cambridge Street towers right down to The Student tower. The re-using of the arches will create yet more animation to this streetscape. The new metrolink bridge looks great as does the new stop, Beetham is a masterpiece and may soon be joined by Axis and the Whitworth Street Tower. Deansgate Locks look good too and are very popular.

By Alistair C

Colourful buildings of First Street? Grey and red I think is the palette there…

Beetham a masterpiece?! Straight edged box with a overhang to maximize the floor space on the plot – no architectural flair involved there. Axis will have a big horrible screen on the side and look awful, the Whitworth tower looks like a mini Beetham. The Locks look pretty, just don’t go there on a Saturday night.

The new tram stop looks alright I guess.

By Gregg

I get the feeling you hate everything Gregg.

By Alistair C

The CJC is the best building built in Manchester in my lifetime of over 50 years.Who designed that? Because they need to do more.A risen park on this land would have been a better plan.That would have been different

By Elephant

“A great urban landscape”?! You mean an utter dogs dinner of clashing forms and cladding; a vista of cheap, ugly, any-town speculative development totally bereft of place making qualities?

By Kaliedavomit