The architect behind Dubai’s Burj Khalifa and New York’s One World Trade Center has been brought in to deliver the £200m Manchester city centre project, with Hodder + Partners retaining a design guardian role, Place North West can reveal.
Earlier this month, Place North West reported Laing O’Rourke was set to build the scheme, and the contractor has brought Skidmore, Owings & Merrill on board as part of its team.
The practice has worked on high-profile projects across the globe including the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre; the Four Seasons Hotel in Manama, Bahrain; and the 72-storey Hudson Yards in Manhattan, as well as the Burj Khalifa, currently the world’s tallest building.
In the UK, it has delivered projects in London including 100 Leadenhall, known as the Cheesegrater. St Michael’s will be its first scheme in Manchester.
Hodder + Partners, the practice responsible for successfully achieving planning consent on what has been a controversial project, will continue to represent the St Michael’s Partnership, made up of ex-footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, Manchester City Council, and Singaporean funder Rowsley.
Speaking to Place North West, Stephen Hodder said he’d agreed to stay within the team “as we’ve worked on this for two years, and turned the scheme around. I now feel that I have a civic responsibility as design guardian, to ensure the project is delivered as per the planning consent. As the design develops, it needs to be fully compliant, and I’ve been reassured that it will be delivered along the lines of what has been approved.”
SOM’s appointment will make it the third major architecture practice to work on the scheme. The first design, featuring two high-rise, black-clad towers of 39 and 29 storeys, was put forward by Make Architects in July 2016.
The proposals would have seen the demolition of all the buildings on the plot, 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.
Hodder + Partners was then brought on board due to a historically close working relationship with the City Council, and a refreshed proposal followed in summer 2017, featuring a single 40-storey lozenge-shaped tower, clad in bronze anodized aluminium. The Abercromby pub and the façade of the Bootle Street police station was retained as part of the revised plans.
Planning consent was secured for the scheme 12 months ago. The project would total 189 apartments; 216 hotel bedrooms; nearly 150,000 sq ft of offices; retail and restaurants, and includes a new synagogue.
Neville has previously said the construction is likely to 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 last published estimate in March last year, the scheme had a construction value of £135m and would create 500 construction jobs, although costs are now understood to be higher.
BCEGI was formerly on board as main contractor, but stepped away from the project before Laing O’Rourke joined the team on a pre-construction services agreement. The professional team also includes Hoare Lea and Zerum.