Unite Student Castle CGI
CGI by Andrew Desmier of the Student Castle scheme in the centre, with Unite's New Wakefield tower to the left and the Liberty student tower to the right c. Andrew Desmier

Laing O’Rourke lines up deal for 55-storey Manchester tower

Charlie Schouten

The contractor is understood to be in discussions to deliver Student Castle’s tower in the city centre with a start on site anticipated later this year.

Designed by Glenn Howells, the brick-clad tower on Hulme Street is to house more than 850 students and was first put forward in September 2018.

Since then, a series of design amendments have been put forward, including increasing the size of the studio apartments, and upping amenity space to nearly 17,000 sq ft.

The development also includes around 8,000 sq ft of co-working space for SMEs; an existing multi-storey car park on the site will be partially deconstructed and reconfigured to accommodate the development.

Student Castle, founded by Edward Cade and Jacqui Hawthorn in 2010, intends to open the scheme towards the end of 2022; if negotiations conclude with Laing O’Rourke over the scheme’s delivery, it is expected to start on site by the end of this year or in early 2020.

Deloitte is the planning consultant on Hulme Street, WSP the structural and M&E engineer, with Aecom engaged as project manager. The development vehicle is GMS (Parking) Ltd, of which both Cade and Hawthorn are listed as directors.

If Laing O’Rourke secures the contract it will be company’s latest high-profile scheme in Manchester city centre. Place North West revealed the contractor had taken over from BCEGI on the £200m, 40-storey St Michael’s project on a PCSA basis in March this year.

The contractor was also in negotiations to deliver DeTrafford’s Transition at Great Jackson Street, featuring three towers of 37, 31, and 23 storeys, but is understood to have walked away with DeTrafford looking to deliver the project using its in-house construction arm.

Laing O’Rourke is also on site at the University of Manchester’s Henry Royce Institute and is building The Factory, the city council’s flagship £130m arts centre.

Student Castle and Laing O’Rourke were both contacted for comment.

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That building is truly awful….

By Anonymous

Love it! get it built

By Steve

Just dreadful. We deserve better.

By Acelius

Beautiful. Get breaking ground asap.

By daveboi

Love these skyscrapers flying up around Manchester

By York Street

How fitting

By Anonymous


By Anonymous

Excellent design

By Lenny1968

Hodge Podge.

By .

That is ssooo ugly it’s hilarious. Well done Manchester, yet again we have proven that we will literally accept any design whatsoever as long as it’s tall. I despair……

By Mavis Davis

How are they making this stack up financially..LOR will ‘walk away’ not long after they submit their price

By Have not

Absolutely love the sleek, slimline design and the Brick cladding. The building blends in well aesthetically with the streetscape, especially the Corner House building and the Principal Hotel across the road. In addition, the three skyscrapers in the cgi, although very different visually, complement each other perfectly.

By Bilderburg Attendee

Beautiful building

By Ali

Another unnecessary tower that will look like sh*t in 2 years time why try and squeeze a building so big in to the tiny space you’re trying to build it in?? There’s so much more land elsewhere. even just the other side of Oxford Road there is an un developed carpark four times the size.. Build it there almost half of this building will have blocked windows

By Jason

Yeh just build it round the corner on that site that the developer doesn’t own

By Not Jason

Is st Philips primary school land up for building on too?

By Anonymous

Hulme homes for hulme people!!!! Tht idea soon gave in to coprate greed!!!

By Bob

Live in a langs built development Islington Wharf in Manchester.
It’s had horrendous build quality problems since day one and the developers are looking to take Langs to court.
Why are they being allowed to build in Manchester?
200 flats are still suffering after 10 years of broken promises from Lang who ignore and delay repairing basic problems such as heat gain from wrong glass to the central heating system being Incorrectly fitted.

By Wayne

Manchester continues its quest for tall buildings at any price.

By A Developer

great design, more skyscrapers the better – keep them coming the city is looking super!

By Anonymous

Prisons, HM Prison Slade was, indeed, a more beautiful sight that this box of faulty tricks.

By Norman Stanley Fletcher

Wonderful!. and many more on the way, Owen St needs to be built now…Here’s hoping.

By Nve

Ugly, ugly, ugly.

By Anonymous

Great stuff, crack on!

By Anonymous

there is a lot of horrendous looking buildings in Manchester but this has to take the crown, God almighty it is awful. Fire everyone in the Council, they allow this horror to happen in Manchester

By Michael

Apparently as I live just across the road from where this monstrosity will be built if at all the architect said it was in keeping with the surrounding area . I’m not sure where they were looking but having a 55 floor brick grave stone erected in the centre of Manchester is like a stake through its heart . It’s ugly it’s unecessary and not in keeping with the surrounding area or with MCC planning regs . Get it scrapped


Nice tower! Get it built already!

By Jean Capdouze

No one is gonna want to live in such a horrendous looking tower, it will be a big flop

By Anonymous

Cancelled, rejected

By Tom

I please urge the development team to up their game. The design needs more work, it needs to incorporate more green and really why not taller, 70/75 floors, why not. Attention should be paid to levels 1~4/5.maybe terrace gardens at podium level 4/5?and lots of led’s please and incorporate elevated bike lanes,,, have them going through the building,,, that’s how I see the future,, adaptation and creative thinking .

By Robert Fuller