Bauer Millett 02
The working title for the project is Found Space. Image shows 'ghost towers' in separate schemes proposed or on site including Axis to the far right and, to the rear left, a later phase, possibly hotel or further residential

MIPIM | Designs out for Ask’s Bauer Millett tower

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.

Bauer Millett Found Space Ask

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.

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Following all of the recent schemes being announced in Manchester can we please have some buildings which are not just glass. Surely between all of the amazing architects operating in this City there must be more creativity than in effect a glass wall.

By Matt

Surely one must question the risks associated with allowing a single architectural practice to have influence on so many towers and therefore the manchester sky line. Are we so lacking in other competent practices? With limited resources in the industry generally, does one Practice have the capacity to deliver the detailed design?

By Concerned

good grief, that’s awful

By MancLad

The comments above are hilarious considering the stick that’s been thrown at St Michael’s.


i think that the uniformity of all this glass looks pretty good.If there were too many styles on this site,it would look a bit complicated. If all these skyscrapers go ahead, Manchester will look pretty spectacular in ten years time. The new plans for Angel Meadows are special.I hope that there is no delay from MCC in allowing that to go ahead.

By Elephant

Beyond boring! How about creating something a bit more visionary and iconic for a change. Makes me laugh how the people living on the two sides of the Beetham Tower affected, will have their views blocked apart from Simpson’s palace at the top!

By David

Whilst the concept is pretty strong, and the additional masses help Beetham look a little less stupid, we really don’t need another Simpson tall building in the city. Too many of them are architectural and / or urban design failures. Time for something else.

By Gene Walker

Simpson’s imagination has gone wild with this one once again! Is this scheme, or most of their others for that matter, any different to children’s building blocks? When will this city get the confidence to demand more from our designers and developers?


As a group these look great. Much better than a load of childish clashing forms and cladding materials that some people seem to want.

It’s nice to see a bit of refinement and uniformity in Manchester for a change.

By Anon

Not as good looking as the developments that will be built this year in Liverpool, these are just square and boring and I am from Manchester

By Gail Platt

There buildings are bad, boring, samey and dull. Yet more boxes for the centre, unlike the new buildings in Liverpool and London. Do the Manchester architects have no imagination and do the local planners have no concept of a city for the future?

By Old hack

Old Hack – no they don’t the same people do the strategic plans for the city quarters all the time and then the usual suspects are wheeled in to draw up the details and do the applications, all very cosy if you are involved but the net result for those who live and work here is a monochromatic load of old turf with terrible wind (tunnel) effects; go walk round spinningfields and you’ll see what I mean. We are way behind other regional cities such as Liverpool and Birmingham IMHO.

By Mirror Mirror

Another unimaginative building block. Manchester, we do things differently here…someone once said. Except we dont. Manchester should be leading the UK in terms of creativity, initiative and flair. Simpson and Deloitte, yawn. Our growth agenda should not mean units at any cost. Design, individuality and legacy above land price.

By Factory51

What is everyone complaining about? There are a tonne of developments that are not glass: St John’s Tower, Wilburn Wharf (completing), Water St (completing), Chester Rd, Apartments on Deansgate South, M-One on Great Ancoats, Port St on Great Accounts. Part of having a varied skyline (which we undoubtedly do and will continue to have), means that some buildings will be glass and others won’t. Secondly, this building isn’t quirky or creative? There is literally a tram line going through it! That’s bloody quirky. Why would you want a building next to the Beetham that doesn’t look like it belongs there? Complimentary isn’t bad. Axis, 10-12 Whitworth St, Owen St towers, this, and Beetham will fit nicely together. Areas should have identities: Spinningfields has one, so does Castlefield, Ancoats, the Northern Quarter, and now the area around and south of Beetham will too. That’s no bad thing. This development looks great, brings more jobs and homes into the area. I’m excited it will create active frontage in this area, because it’s currently absolutely dire. Make Great Bridgewater St Great Again or whatever.


Absolutely agree with MCR above. Well said.


MC, there is an office building going up in Spinningfields which is almost identical to these ones. Both done by the same architect, who has applied the same style across the city. Different styles in different quarters has been achieved in spite of the planners and their clear favourites, when it should have been promoted by them. I’m all for big buildings and they’ll have a great economic benefit but couldn’t they just get a bit more creative and ambitious when the pen’s come out?


Which developments in Liverpool and Birmingham? Genuine question.

By Loganberry

I’m really intrigued to know what the continual critics of these and similar designs would come up with as not being ‘bland or boring’? Organic shapes a la Hadid, Foster’s phallic gherkin? Buildings reminiscent of SimCity perhaps with odd projections, helicopter pads midway up the elevation or neo-classic skyscrapers with domes to rival the Basilica?

Architects are sadly constrained by commercial realities of having to make a building economically viable and maximising the efficiency of internal area. By definition this is usually by some form of rectilinear shape. The art comes in the setting, scale and proportion of the final design and in my opinion these are fine buildings taken both in isolation and in context of their surroundings, both existing and proposed. Yes, London can deliver some fantastic landmark buildings but it’s a little easier to achieve when you’re talking capital values more than 10 times what is achievable in Manchester.

As for Liverpool and Birmingham, I’d love to see what are being touted as ‘better looking buildings’ as I’ve seen little to suggest there are. As for seeing a monopoly in Architecture, I can think of at least 5 practices that are active in the City delivering buildings of this scale and by definition the more prestigious projects will seek out the more prestigious firms to deliver them.

By Bob The Builder

Hordes of numpties crawling out from under their rocks to spout their negativity and cynicism, typically British…. We need to get past this contrarianism that seems to plague comment sections like these.

People asking for a tower akin to something in Dubai/London, please use your brains. People wishing it will remain a surface car park, please use your brains. People wishing for something other than glass, maybe some random cladding, please use your brains.

As one of the few bright ones has mentioned, it will be good to see some refinement and uniformity in Manchester. The stand out buildings will come in time. What a boxy tower demonstrates is that it is a sustainable, healthy and gradual progression to something more iconic and ostentatious. Look at most British regional cities and they usually have a confusing layout, a mish mash of poor architecture (random cladding, 60’s rubbish, 90’s trash), no identity, not particularly modern, dirty and finally stuck in its ways. Manchester on the other hand IS different and this kind of development will help that. It’s the only city outside of London in the UK which is not stuck in its parochial ways and has genuine world-class potential.

By The Squirrel's Nuts