A CGI for First Street shows the two PRS towers, left, with office block to the rear, and the redesigned Plot 9 office/hotel to the right

GALLERY | Details revealed of next phase of First Street

Ask Real Estate and Whitbread have revealed details of the next phase of development at Manchester’s First Street, set to deliver 600,000 sq ft of offices, and two towers of apartments.

Ask in a joint venture with Premier Inn owner Whitbread revealed last week that they were working up to two applications to submit to Manchester City Council.

One application concerns Plot 9, which previously gained planning consent for a 16-storey block. The earlier proposals have been overhauled to allow for a larger building, which is expected to become the second largest office in Manchester, with 30,000 sq ft floorplates across 10 storeys. As previously agreed with Whitbread, Premier Inn will relocate from Medlock Street to deliver a hotel in the upper three storeys. The design is very similar to the approved office, but shorter in height, on a larger footprint.

The Premier Inn move frees up the Medlock Street site, a key gateway plot into the city centre, allowing the current buildings to be demolished. This will make way for another office, of around 270,000 sq ft, and two towers targeted at the build-to-rent sector, reaching 32 and 22 storeys respectively.

Nearby, the council is set to invest £7m to revamp the Medlock Street roundabout, while public realm across the site will connect through to Downing’s River Street tower, currently under construction on a plot next door, and also through to the wider First Street scheme.

The submission of the planning applications is targeted for early autumn, with a view to being discussed at a December planning committee, and a start on site due for the office in spring 2020.

Both schemes are designed by Jon Matthews Architects. The landscape architect is Planit IE.

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It’s a mess. They’ve tried to incorporate office, residential and some stupid public realm into one site which has lead to two of the buildings being feet away from each other. They need to utilise the space better, either build three residential towers or one larger office scheme and get rid of the pointless public realm.

By Archie

Get a nice big park in there instead

By Mr Green

Agree with Archie. First street is a tip. Poor architecture and no order to what is going on. Very disappointing and a wasted opportunity. It looks like something you would see on a ring road.

By Elephant

Ahh here we go again, if it was up to most readers here Manchester would just be one big green park. Manchester is a metropolis, move over or bore off. I don’t see any of you using Hulme Park?

By Anonymous

It’s sad to see Manchester city centre being turned into an endless sea of bland.

By Manc Lad

@ Archie, I couldn’t disagree with you less. Multi-type masterplans like this mean the area is used at all times of the day which lowers crime and gives the area more of a ‘buzz’. If it was solely residential it would be a ghost town during the day. If it were solely offices it would be a ghost town at night. Having a combination of resi, office, leisure + public realm makes a place feel so much more like a community. I recommend reading Richard Roger’s ‘Cities for a small planet/country’. He explains it far more eloquently than I do.

By Egg

The tower blocks look like something from Harpurhey. What a way to knock £30k from the value of each flat from the get-go. Hope it goes in for a redesign. I think one tower here would be better than two.

By Tyler

Egg, I think you’re spot on, walk past this site everyday going to work and I think the mixed use proposals for this site are just what is needed. Also, great to hear that the roundabout is going to get revamped as it’s a graffiti ridden eyesore at the moment.

By Anonymous

The public realm and offices are fantastic. As for the resi towers, Manchester deserves much better than that now. We’ve moved on since 2010.

By Anonymous

Even if Manchester filled all of the brownfield sites with green space it wouldn’t be a ‘giant park’. Manchester deserves a decent city park.
Also I think you need to check what your definition of what a metropolis is.

By Mr Green

What is wrong with Hulme Park, which is literally across the road? If it’s accessibility then lets work on that rather than greening over land identified for vital new office space. We’d all like to see a bit more greenery and better quality public space in the City Centre, but there is hardly a lack of greenery and quality public space in this location.


First Street is a cool area o…… Aaaand its gone

By yawn

The mix of space is a good thing.

Office is ok – much needed large floor plates and goo idea to have a premier Inn in there.

However, the designs for the resi are shocking. Boring, basic and a waste of a great opportunity. Please give this a rethink and the masterplan will be decent. Still nowhere near as good as it could/should have been, but not as bad as the dommsdayers are making out.

By Realist

Not every site can feature everything or be a mixed use development. This isn’t a large site as can be seen in the images where the buildings right next to each other. The area is already a mix of office and residential.

By Archie