St Michaels Cityscape Oct17

MIPIM | Neville: Unrealistic to start St Michael’s this year

Charlie Schouten in Cannes

Gary Neville is now aiming for St Michael’s to start on site in March next year, telling Place North West it would be “unrealistic” for the project to begin in 2018, but added the team was hoping to get on site as quickly as possible once designs are finalised.

The developer, alongside architect Stephen Hodder, had earlier this year said the team was hopeful of starting construction in 2018 after planning permission was secured, but Neville now said it would be “prudent” to finalise all the elements of the £200m project’s design.

He added that this was expected to take place “over the next couple of months” and that he would be working closely with Hodder to make sure the design is right.

“We parked much of the design work 12 months ago so nobody can suggest we have rushed it,” he said. “Ultimately, we’ve done it much better [than the previous design]”. He said the team was continuing to work hard on the layouts for the apartments, with much of the design work aside from elements of the studio and one-bed apartments now “pretty much fixed”.

The project has an estimated construction cost of £135m, and Neville confirmed he was looking to “reinvigorate discussions” with main contractor BCEGI, which has been attached to the project for some time. These talks are due to take place in the next two to three months.

St Michaels Pub Foreground Oct17

Neville added he was hopeful of ensuring the project’s spend was focussed in Greater Manchester, but said there were certain elements of the scheme which would have to be procured from elsewhere.

Hodder and Neville, speaking alongside Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese at the MIPIM property conference in Cannes, said the entire project would take three-and-a-half years to complete, but that it could be delivered in phases, with the commercial and hotel element delivered first, hopefully within two-and-a-half years.

Neville confirmed the developer was in discussions with a five-star hotel operator for the site and was hopeful of announcing the deal once planning permission is confirmed.

The Secretary of State has a 21-day option to call in the project for Government scrutiny. The call-in period started on 8 March, when Manchester City Council’s planning committee approved the scheme by six votes to three. The Secretary also has an option to extend this process.

However, Hodder said he was “hopeful” the scheme would not be called in, while Neville said the possible call-in “isn’t going to be the straw that broke the camel’s back”.

Neville said he would “make no apologies” for the housing element of the scheme, which will provide 189 high-end residential apartments, and added: “We want the design and the products used on the site to be the best quality it can be”.

“When we designed One Deansgate we wanted that to be a market-shifting scheme, and we want St Michael’s to be the same: it has to be high end.”

New St Michael's


Sir Richard Leese also defended the housing mix, and said part of the city’s five-year demand was focussed on high-end housing.

“We want the people that will live there to spend their money in the city, and not spend it in places like Prestbury like they do now.”

He also outlined the council’s plans to “take some of the project’s profit and reinvest it in affordable housing”, and said “the more profit the project makes the more will be invested,” but when asked to put a figure on this ambition, Neville said it would be “impossible to predict”, given that it would be dictated by market conditions in a number of years’ time.

The project’s apartments will be launched in Manchester first, followed by an international launch straight after, and highlighted the importance of attracting international investment into the scheme.

Neville added there would be massive job creation at the site through the commercial and retail element: “You have around six people working on that site right now; once it’s built there will be 1,500, and that’s a massive benefit for the city”.

He concluded his enthusiasm for the scheme had not been dampened by the lengthy planning process, which has seen the project change from two towers to one following objections from locals and heritage bodies.

“It feels like we were two-nil down to City in the first half and now we can pull it back in the second.”

Overall, the revised St Michael’s scheme is set to provide 189 apartments; 216 hotel bedrooms; nearly 150,000 sq ft of office space; retail and restaurant space, and a new synagogue.

The mixed-use development proposed at Jackson’s Row in Manchester city centre, and is backed by ex-footballers Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Manchester City Council, developer Brendan Flood, Singaporean funder Rowsley, and Beijing Construction Engineering Group. Zerum is planning advisor, while Deloitte advised on the socio-economic impact.

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Yes, the St Michael’s area justifies redevelopment, but that can be done by the a sensible regeneration of the attractive Bootle Street Police Station – with a FEW additional floors and an atrium to throw light into the central area.

The St. Michael’s Development – with its 40 storey tower – is too large and will irretrievably destroy a most historic part of the City of Manchester. Every time the Councillors and Officers responsible for the decision leave the iconic Manchester Town Hall on an early summer evening, as the sun sets in he west, the wonderful Albert Square and the historic buildings nearby, will be dimmed by the shadow cast by of the ugly St Michael’s development.

The development will bring no added benefits to the City that justifies the scale of build, and the destructive impact on one of the most historically important parts of the City Centre.

Thus, like the awful Hulme Crescents, designed by Wilson and Wormersly, some 40 years ago, which once blighted a part of this City, the names of those associated with the St. Michael’s redevelopment will be held in similar disdain in years to come. Sadly, unlike the Hulme Crescents the ugly St. Michael’s tower will not be as easy to demolish.

By Roy G Chapman

The real Manchester people now only have one hope to stop this terrible development
We need the government to step in and stop it right now before our Heritage is destroyed for all time. This building is too tall and to close to listed structures. When will designers learn that they need to compromise and take surroundings into account before they throw up yet another block!

By Andrew Robinson

Am I missing something here? The way some carry on,it’s as if this area is St Marks square in Venice. Lincoln Square is a tip, surrounded by ugly buildings. The other side of Albert Square away from the Town hall is a mess. Bootle street police station is nice enough but that is being saved anyway. Manchester is not a city of medieval streets and this development is not going to effect much to be honest,unless people have a penchant for 1960s and 1970s office blocks. If this was being built next to York Minster I would have something to say but it is being built in the centre of a booming commercial city.

By Elephant

Elephant – yes, perhaps what you are looking is that Manchester city centre has a paucity of heritage assets, coupled with some uninspiring overdevelopment. There’s a great opportunity at this site to reverse the trend and make the city centre an interesting part of time that might contribute to the urban environment, instead of maximising the developer’s returns at all other costs.

By Town Planner

Unlike ‘elephant’ I am proud of my city. That’s why I put my name at the end of my email. It’s a shame your not. The developers are of the same mind as you. This building will spoil the view for thousands of people. Money is ruling this decision. Nothing else. What a shame.

By Andrew Robinson