Ask Real Estate and SimpsonHaugh & Partners have published images of the proposed 40-storey tower which could be built on the former Bauer Millett car showroom behind the Manchester Central exhibition hall.
Found Space would contain 370 apartments and form a neighbour to the slightly taller Beetham Tower on Deansgate.
A 240,000 sq ft office building rising to 14 storeys is also planned. There would be ground floor bars, restaurants and shops, with disused railway arches brought back into use along Great Bridgewater Street.
A key component of the scheme is the significant improvements to the pedestrian environment along Great Bridgewater Street by removing sections of the existing bridge, allowing natural light down to street level and creating a more welcoming place.
New public routes are planned to link the Deansgate-Castlefield Metrolink stop to the city centre via Watson Street, which runs between the Great Northern Warehouse and Manchester Central.
Ask said the development is being delivered in partnership with Manchester City Council, Transport for Greater Manchester and Manchester Central.
Ask acquired the 1.74-acre Bauer Millett showrooms almost a year ago. John Hughes, managing director of Ask, said: “Our scheme will be a visionary development, something which only a few years ago, would have been almost impossible to imagine happening outside of London. The huge levels of investment we have seen into Manchester’s infrastructure coupled with efforts by the universities to attract and retain talent has seen an upturn in graduate retention and consequently an influx of businesses looking to establish themselves in the city centre. In turn this has driven demand for new hotels, retail and leisure outlets – the development of which has boosted the city’s economy. These factors mean it is now time for us to unlock previously hidden opportunities and the Bauer Millett showrooms is a strong example of this concept.”
Ian Simpson added: “Found Space is particularly exciting as it’s a space which we have discovered. It’s about connecting a part of the city with the wider context. It will also be a great and public place which people will like and enjoy.”
A neighbouring site received planning approval in 2008 for a 13-storey hotel. The council now owns the site, which was acquired from developer the Beetham Organisation, following construction of its Beetham Tower hotel and apartments. Ask is working with the council on plans for the plot, possibly to serve as an extension to the Hilton, or for residential. This will be a later phase separate to the scheme proposed in Found Space.