St Michaels Dec

Design changes as St Michael’s aims for 2020 start

Jessica Middleton-Pugh and Charlie Schouten

A series of amendments to the high-profile scheme in Manchester city centre have been put forward as the developer and contractor Laing O’Rourke aim to start on site next year.

The tweaks have come forward since architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill was brought on board earlier this year, as first revealed by Place North West. SOM is the designer behind the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and New York’s One World Trade Center.

Under the existing planning consent, secured around 12 months ago, the scheme will provide a 40-storey tower featuring 189 apartments; 216 hotel bedrooms; nearly 150,000 sq ft of offices; retail and restaurants, and a new synagogue.

The fresh changes are primarily for the commercial element of the scheme, including switching mezzanine retail and leisure space to offices, and increasing the number of storeys to 41.

It is understood the addition of a storey does not change the height of the building, but will see one floor of hotel space switched out for a plant room, to make space for additional M&E required by the hotel operator, previously reported to be W Hotels. The tweaks are expected to come forward as planning amendments in the coming weeks.

Discussions over cost with contractor Laing O’Rourke are now progressing ahead of bringing the scheme to site early next year.

Place revealed Laing O’Rourke had replaced BCEGI as main contractor in March earlier this year; BCEGI was also previously an equity partner. Laing O’Rourke is continuing to work on the scheme on a PCSA basis while costs are being agreed.

The scheme at Jackson’s Row in the city centre is being developed by ex-footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, along with Manchester City Council, and Singaporean funder Rowsley.

Developer Brendan Flood also has a stake in the development, but is negotiating an exit from the partnership. Neville and Flood are engaged in a legal battle over Flood’s use of the UA92 name; Neville is developing the UA92 sports campus in Old Trafford, which is set to welcome its first students this month.

An as-yet-unnamed development partner is understood to be in discussions about taking on Flood’s stake once an exit is concluded.

According to Neville, St Michael’s will take around take three-and-a-half years to complete, with the potential to be delivered in phases, with the commercial and hotel element delivered first, likely within two-and-a-half years. At the most recent estimates, made ahead of planning permission in March last year, the scheme had a construction value of £135m and would create 500 construction jobs.

The scheme has gone through a number of changes since plans were first unveiled in July 2016, when they featured two high-rise, black clad towers reaching 29 and 39 storeys respectively, designed by Make Architects.

The proposals would have seen the demolition of all the buildings on the site, including the Sir Ralph Abercromby pub and Bootle Street police station. The scheme inspired fierce opposition, with a petition reaching thousands of signatures, protesting against the height in such a central location, and the loss of the historic assets.

A refreshed proposal by Hodder + Partners followed in summer 2017, and include a single 40-storey lozenge-shaped tower, clad in bronze anodized aluminium. The Abercromby pub and the façade of the Bootle Street police station will also be retained as part of the revised plans.

The professional team on St Michael’s includes Zerum and Hoare Lea, while Hodder + Partners has retained a role client-side as guardian architect. The developer was contacted for comment.

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They will not agree a price with Laing ‘name your own price’ O’Rourke…

By The real one

This is far to complex, too many uses squashed into one building. Nobody else in Manchester has such a mixed use scheme. The cores are a nightmare, inefficient and will be technically the most difficult and costly scheme in Manchester. London can probably afford this one. One for the next cycle in about 10 years time.

By Yoda

You mean the property is being developed by a Singapore company. Two ex-footballers are paid to attend propaganda meetings and blabber about building for the benefit of Mancunians, and so on. Sorry but we are not as daft as we look.

By James Yates

Hope you’re right Yoda. Dreadful scheme. Hopefully will never be built.

By Huey

No thank you! Nothing tall around it, no possibility of that either. ruins the area. Building is fine, just plonk it somewhere else.

By VW Driver

I think this will be nice but it’s been an utter shambles having gone on for almost 15 years, I wish them all the best but it’s a lesson to city not to focus on celebrities but on grass roots regeneration

By Paul Smith

I don’t think this will ever be built. Good.

By Acelius

The best proposal in Northern England in living memory

By York Street

This debacle epitomises the sheer slowness of everything in this country because every single time someone has an idea it has to be passed by one group or another, who are opposed to it overshadowing a street where a clog factory once stood. The rest of the world would have built a mega city in the time they have been trying to erect this block of flats. Pathetic.

By Elephant

I was in Toronto recently, what an amazing place, construction of skyscrapers everywhere, people in this country are afraid of a building like this, it’s no wonder this country is getting further behind.

By Dan

Do the general public relies its 2019 .We are in a mess with Brexit and some local lads want to put their money and will power into a project that will employ hundreds of people for many of years to come.
So what if they are in it to make money is that not what business is for.

By Mark Fisher

Such as shame this is being allowed to be built. These people only care about money in their already full pockets. A blight on the landscape for all to see. Manchester people have been let down.

By Andrew Robinson

I really like the design but it overshadows the Town Hall and Albert Square so is in the wrong place it would work better further down Deansgate.

By Lenny1968

This is an average design but in totally the wrong location. It looks so out of place there, towers should be in clusters in one or two designated areas, not scattered randomly across the city. Stop this madness before the skyline is beyond saving.

By Slim jim

Complex scheme, complex site = ££££. Insightful comments from Yoda… some people think buildings can just be knocked up… no surprise this one has struggled to make a start on site.

By Obi

Moaners; every city has them. Moaners are everywhere and change frightens them. If you give in to the moaners time will stand still.

By Anonymous

Disaster would sum this development up. Create 500 jobs who are they trying to kid? All the 180 apartments will be sold off to investors adding nothing to the city, most will stay empty. The commercial office element whilst maybe needed will be an eye sore over Albert sq and the Town Hall. It’s a pure money driven exercise backed by Oversees investment and should never have been approved.

By Phil T

In a forward thinking country like Canada or Australia this would’ve been built by now, and the overseas investment would be welcomed

By Fg

What a bunch of whingebags! Lol
Can’t wait for this to be built.

By Tinkywinky

W Hotels are great, shows real confidence in Manchester

By Sam

Here we go again, the old generation trying to dictate the future of the current generation. We need to build up and this is a fantastic building. Please move over and let us build for our futures which many of you will be long gone. It’s about time we didn’t allow the opinions of the old-fashioned, stubborn minority to dictate our futures.

By New Wave

The only people who want this have a financial gain. They do not care about manchester or it’s people. Wake up for goodness sake. When will these people who say it’s a good idea realise that these flats will be sold and remain empty. Foreign investment at it’s best! Wrong design, wrong place.


Just get this one built, hopefully it can serve as a template for future developments when the council does thumb up /thumb down. I particularly like the honeycombs look.

By Robert Fuller

For the love of God,,,, just crack on and build it. No more procrastination…

By Robert Fuller