Calderpeel and Woods Bagott designed the original mixed-use scheme

Ballymore sells Piccadilly Tower site to HS2 

Dan Whelan

The Irish developer has agreed to sell the Store Street plot earmarked for a 60-storey residential tower for more than a decade, in a £25m deal to facilitate construction of Manchester Piccadilly’s high-speed rail hub. 

A spokesperson for Ballymore said: “We confirm that an agreement has been reached between Ballymore and HS2, acting on behalf of the Department for Transport, for a site on Store Street in Manchester.” 

Ballymore has consent from the city council for a 650-apartment scheme designed by architects Calderpeel and Woods Bagott, which also included a 220-bed hotel, multistorey car park and 40,000 sq ft of retail and leisure uses.

Permission for the scheme, known as Piccadilly Tower, was secured in 2005 and Ballymore bought a 95% stake in the site from developer Inacity two years later. 

It is understood Ballymore spent around £40m progressing its plans, including £8m on site remediation, before the project stalled in 2008. 

Eight years later, Ballymore put the site up for sale with a £25m price tag, but hope that the scheme could progress was reignited in 2018 when the developer began exploring options to resurrect the project. 

However, last year, HS2 – the Government-owned company set up to deliver the national high-speed rail scheme – moved to protect its interest in the site by including it in a safeguarding order, designed to protect major infrastructure projects from conflicting developments, stymieing Ballymore’s plans once more. 

HS2 has until less than a year – until February 2022 – to complete land acquisitions needed for the part of the rail link from Euston to the north of Birmingham and is under further pressure to commence deals to snap up sites for the northern segments of the route.

The company’s acquisition of the Store Street site will enable plans for a high-speed hub at Manchester Piccadilly to progress, once the deal completes. The HS2 station itself is scheduled to complete in 2033 and the wider redevelopment of land around the station could feature up to 13,000 homes, according to HS2.

Current plans for Piccadilly’s high-speed hub propose an above-ground station but the city council is pushing for an underground option integrated with the proposed Northern Powerhouse Rail network.

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The best proposal we ever had

By Floyd

No loss. There is more going on in the city now than there has ever been, even at the time of this proposal. Better developments, from low-rise to skyscrapers. If Ballymore were serious about it they would have built it. As such they decided to land bank and made a loss anyway. More fool them. Piccadilly will get its tower and cluster (with Mayfield and Medlock Park)

By Andrew

Hope a comparable green zone is created to off set the pollution

By City dweller

Ballymore? Ballyless more like!

By Poguemahone

That’s a prime HS2 site. I would have thought that future planing apps would concern below ground rather than a tower. Who knows, a tower(s) might be in the plans but considering where it is I guess the value is below ground.

By Robert Fuller

Well, it’s gone from apartments that only a few percent can afford to a part of a railway infrastructure a few percent can afford (@ proposed fares of £270 return MCR to LON at handover 2030+).
Build server infrastructure, software houses, tech hubs, engineering for the future, then build housing to match business growth just like the movement of people in the Industrial Revolution, not for overseas investment to leave them empty and dark like cash in a high interest account taking up the footprint of a potential top 10 tech innovation companies data centre employing 1500 people.

By Mike

HS2 is actually happening then. More chance it seems than this tower ever had of being built. A lot of great investment happening around Piccadilly.

By PDM

It seems like an age since this tower was proposed, I thought it had had died a death long ago. A lot of towers have been built since then, some even taller. This is the right thing to do for this site though, HS2 will help Manchester drive the Northern economy. We do need the East West connection too though. That Northern power house idea would work so much better with a properly connected intercity network that didn’t rely on a ‘all rails lead to London ‘approach

By Anon