CEG has moved forward with its proposals for a New York-style replacement for 20-36 High Street in Manchester by submitting a planning application for the project, set to feature 361 apartments and a mezzanine space for retail and leisure.
The developer has held two consultations on the project, first in July 2017 and then in July this year, and has now put in its planning application for the under-used site, which sits opposite the Arndale Centre.
CEG said the existing buildings, covering around 70,000 sq ft were “constrained, not environmentally friendly and unappealing to modern office occupiers” and added the site at present was “reaching the end of its economic life”.
The proposals by CEG and architect FCB Studios, the development is set to include 361 flats, in a mix of one, two and three bedrooms, alongside 12,000 sq ft of units for retail and leisure, built around a central, partially covered public plaza known as Stationer’s Court. The plaza would cut through the scheme in a cross shape, connecting to High Street, Church Street, Bridgewater Place and Birchin Lane.
The designs feature a mansard roof, which the architect said referenced other similar buildings in Manchester including Sunlight House, and the Debenhams building next door.
The line of market units on Church Street, owned by the council and run by operators such as the Jerk Shack and Northern Soul Grilled Cheese, is also set to be relocated; a separate planning application has been put forward to move market stalls to their previous location adjacent to the Church Street NCP car park. This would provide increased frontage and additional facilities such as toilets, a market management office, as well as indoor and outdoor seating.
At this summer’s consultation, David Hodgson, head of strategic development North at CEG, said the developer was aiming to win planning approval by the end of the year, although no project start date as been named as yet.
Hodgson added: “This is an exciting regeneration opportunity, delivering a design that is befitting of this gateway site and reflects High Street’s former vibrancy and importance in the city. By reopening the historic Stationer’s Court as a covered plaza, we can enhance pedestrian access between the High Street and Northern Quarter and provide a light-filled covered space to eat, drink and shop, enjoying views of the large feature tree planting we are proposing on Birchin Lane.”
Alex Whitbread, partner at FCB Studios, added: “Our design will create a grand mansion block at the corner of High Street and Church Street where the Northern Quarter and the city centre retail quarter meet.
“The architecture refers to the City’s past, drawing on the adjacent Debenhams and historic office buildings such as Sunlight House to create a new building which is distinctly and proudly Mancunian. The use of light ivory-white glazed ceramic tiles will also create a building that is light in colour and reflective in character.”
As well as FCB, the professional team also includes Deloitte as planner and Stephen Levrant Heritage Architecture.