Circle Square Hotel And Car Park
Feilden Clegg Bradley's original design has been cut by two storeys by delivery architect Leach Rhodes Walker

Design changes for Circle Square car park and hotel

Architect Leach Rhodes Walker has revealed a series of design changes for Circle Square’s hotel and car park, reducing the height by two storeys and removing the proposed ground floor commercial unit.

The firm is taking forward the scheme as delivery architect. Feilden Clegg Bradley was the original designer for the project.

Feilden Clegg Bradley’s proposals amounted to around 483,000 sq ft, but the fresh proposals from Leach Rhodes Walker measure around 457,000 sq ft, a total reduction of 26,000 sq ft.

The upper two storeys, earmarked for hotel space, have been removed, while level nine, originally set aside for car parking space, will now be mixed between car parking and 9,900 sq ft of hotel space.

Despite the total space allocated for the hotel being reduced, the number of hotel rooms has been increased from 149 to 155. The changes have also led to a reduction in car parking spaces from 1,100 to 1,014.

The building as been cut from 17 storeys to 15 as a result of the changes.

The latest plans also propose the removal of the building’s ground floor commercial unit, earmarked for retail or restaurant space, and an energy centre.

Russells is set to start on the project this month, having been picked as main contractor last summer.

Site preparation and substructure works are due to run until April, after which a tower crane will be erected to stand at the site for 50 weeks. Completion is scheduled for January 2020.

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Dead ground space? We need less of that in the city, not more.

By Aaron

@Aaron, totally agree. Disappointing they’ve removed ground retail space, especially as the point of this Circle Square development is to liven up this part of Oxford Rd even more. A shame really.

By Young Planner

Is it just me or is this design a copy of the new Philharmonic Opera House in Hamburg?

By Alice in Architecture

Horrid…Will the carpark have a sprinkler system?

By Schwyz

Still over 1,000 new parking spaces being built in a city centre. Madness. Who did the Transport Assessment for that?

By Town Planner

MCC planning bang on about having active frontages in locations where it is virtually impossible to achieve, so they need to insist on it here. If a ground floor commercial unit isn’t lettable in this location, I will eat my gluten free, vegan, artisan baked hat.

By Gene Walker

@Alice, you’re correct, it is a copy of Hamburg’s Philharmonic Opera House, but a horrid copy. And that was before they destroyed the streetscape by removing the most important part, retail/commercial. as @Aaron rightly said, we need less dead ground space in Manchester. This building went from a bad copy of Hamburg’s Opera House to a structure the city will regret once built.

By Jo

AKA: value engineered, watered down, economised.

This will be a laughing stock in a couple of decades, if not sooner.

By Friday

Didn’t know of the Hamburg Opera House, just googled it. Wow, given this is a prime site, it really shows what a pathetic second-rate city Manchester is in the European context. Try harder – have some ambition!!

By Town Planner

I didn’t think it possible for the Circle Square scheme to get any worse, but clearly what do I know?!

By MancLad

Stop moaning, the lot of you.

Next you’ll be moaning about the rest of Circle Square.


This is appalling. Bruntwood have to step up here and for once do what’s right for the City. They have been treated with kid gloves for far too long. surely their favourable treatment has to come with some conditions.

By Cost Driven

Some weird comments on here.

In no way can this be compared to the Hamburg concert all – a prestige, mixed-use cultural and residential building worth over ten times the value of the Circle Square project.

Sure there’s a passing resmblance but of its type, you’d have to say this is one of the best car parks and the best budget hotels proposed in Manchester (or anywhere else) in recent years as well as being a really creative and imaginative bit of architecture in its own right.

Now what upsets me is the prospect of it being value engineered too much. As others have said, the removal of the commercial unit is a big shame but the more worrying change is the reduction in size and consequent change in proportions which I feel were just right. Worried about this one now.

By Leached

I also think its reasonable to expect that the revised application includes high quality CGIs rather than just elevation drawings so the two proposals can be compared properly.

By Leached