The updated strategic regeneration framework for Manchester’s Renaissance hotel complex on Deansgate is to go before the city council’s executive with a recommendation for approval next week.
In March, Urban & Civic unveiled its proposals for the Renaissance Hotel site, long considered a regeneration priority. The developer acquired the two-acre site in 2014.
Urban & Civic’s £200m masterplan for the site currently includes three towers of 45, 22, and 11 storeys in height, accommodating a 250-bed five-star hotel, 600 apartments, and conference, retail and public space. Lendlease is understood to be one of the first contractors to put itself forward to build the scheme.
Designed by architect Glenn Howells, the proposals also include extensive public realm which is earmarked to take up around 86,000 sq ft, or 58% of the total site. There will also be pedestrian connections across the site to link it with Greengate, the River Irwell, and the area around Manchester Cathedral – the boundary of the SRF extends into the Medieval Quarter for placemaking purposes.
The updated SRF was approved in principle in March, with a six-week public consultation following. The masterplan was available to view online, and 148 letters were sent out. Only five responses were received, including input from Transport for Greater Manchester and Historic England.
Historic England welcomed the redevelopment as a whole, but observed that the framework set out a more homogenous architectural design in comparison to proposals put forward in 2009, “which suggests a less varied and vibrant character, with less relationship to the adjacent conservation areas”.
The organisation suggested that the height and massing within the SRF should refer back to the 2009 plan, and be reduced at the northern end of the site, which is closer to Manchester Cathedral – the 2009 proposals, it said, saw the greatest massing at the Blackfriars southern end of the site. The new SRF it said, “has the potential for a far greater impact on the setting of the Cathedral”.
Historic England also observed that within the current SRF, “linkages and pedestrian routes along the river receive less emphasis than before”
In response, the council’s report said that a direct comparison with the 2009 framework cannot be made, as the development context has changed “significantly”. It said that Historic England’s comments were noted, and stated that the SRF is not a detailed architectural proposal. The report added that the SRF’s text has been amended to embed Historic England’s guidance on heritage settings.