Whitworth Street West

Inhabit sets out next steps for Whitworth Street tower

Charlie Schouten and Jessica Middleton-Pugh

A development partner is being sought for a 35-storey tower on Whitworth Street, following failed attempts to secure a contractor, sell the site or find funding.

Planning permission was granted to Brigantes in 2015 for 330 private rented sector apartments on a plot next to the City Road pub. The site was then taken over by Inhabit, run by directors of Mercer Real Estate, also known as Castleforge.

Consent was due to expire on 11 April, and Inhabit has successfully applied for an extension, on the condition that a contractor be appointed by October 2020; if this does not happen, the developer will be required to restore the site.

According to the letter to the council requesting extra time, Inhabit attempted to attract a funding partner in 2018, but this proved to be unsuccessful. The plot was also put up for sale as part of a wider PRS portfolio, with Greystar reportedly interested in the acquisition. However this deal has not progressed.

Kier was connected to the project as main contractor in 2017, when a completion date was set for 2020, but terms were not agreed.

Since the original application, a series of design alterations were approved by the city council, including variations to the building’s façade. The basement was also removed “to reduce risk and construction programme”, according to planning documents.

Inhabit is now looking for a developer or developer-contractor to bring forward the tower. A joint venture partner will be required to provide proof of funding, and to put forward a “highest and best use” of the site.

A main contractor will then be procured; this is expected to begin in December with a pre-construction services agreement, running to September next year. A start on site is scheduled for October 2020.

Proposals for the site have been in the pipeline since 2009, when 5plus Architects designed a 300-bedroom hotel across 18 storeys for Ask; this was subsequently taken on by investor Ion Equity, which was never progressed. 5plus was also the architect behind the 2015 consent, and the project is now being brought forward by Jon Matthews Architects. The site has some potentially challenging attributes, as a small plot next to a railway line and arches.

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They could probably also do with updating the cgi to reflect that this view no longer exists due to Axis going up? I hope investors/ purchasers for Axis Tower knew that their view south was temporary?

By update

Looks a lot better without Axis imo

By Rob

Will never get built – missed the boat now

By The Old Faithful

Manchester will always be London`s protégé.

By Liver fella

only renaker could actually deliver this though – and cant see them wanting to be involved. will they end up buying the plot?

By DWinner

Liver fella, get a job.


Wow…..fits in well,….. doesnt it?

By Billy

I suspect unless this is built as an office or hotel it will not get developed they have, for now, missed the PRS boat. Good location however near the Briton’s Protection one of the best pubs in Manchester.

By Lenny1968

The 1960s called – they want their design back

By Tom

“….following failed attempts to secure a contractor, sell the site or find funding……..” Says it all in just a few words – it obviously isn’t viable.

By D

Don’t need it, Manchester already has 80+ cranes in the sky, it’s booming, can’t deny the facts.

By Trev

Proposals for this site go back further than 2009. DCM designed a hotel/apartment tower on this site for Ask way back in 2007.

By Pedant

I think that something more imaginative could be done with this site and not another faceless block. The mews at the back of it is crying out for some interesting places to eat, drink and shop.That area is beginning to look amazing for skyscrapers but there is nothing else. It needs to be more than a dormitory.

By Elephant

Best thing in this pic is the Briton’s Protection

By Tha' Knows

Q – When’s this project going to start? A – Inhabit

By Delay

*face palm* I know cities have to change to meet the present and future needs of their citizens, but this is driven by profit, not need. MCC really needs to get a grip of itself and start looking after the needs of the people of Manchester……..

By Pete