General Projects’ 325,000 sq ft office complex in New Islington and Aberdeen Standard Investments’ Whitworth Street hotel were among schemes approved by Manchester City Council this week, but others were refused or deferred until January.
Pollard Street office complex
Developer – General Projects
Architect – Hawkins\Brown
Planner – Deloitte Real Estate
The London-based developer, which specialises in “creative modern marketplaces”, envisages a hub that would bring together more than 100 small-and-medium-sized businesses with larger, blue-chip companies.
The 325,000 sq ft scheme on Pollard Street would be the developer’s first in Manchester. Under the proposals, General Projects would construct five buildings containing a mix of office space ranging from micro-units to grade A ‘innovation’ offices.
The buildings would be located alongside the Ashton Canal and designed by architect Hawkins\Brown and landscape architect Planit-IE, with inspiration taken from Manchester’s heritage cotton and textile mills.
The scheme would also see the redevelopment of five acres of green space close to the New Islington Metrolink station. The area, known informally as New Islington Green, is used by dog walkers and local residents.
Ahead of yesterday’s planning committee meeting, more than 500 objections to the application had been submitted, many of which raised concerns about the loss of green space. The developer’s proposals include a £5m investment to deliver more than two acres of public space to counter the concerns.
The scheme is part of a refreshed masterplan for the area of East Manchester known as Eastlands, considered by the city council last year. At the time, General Projects’ proposed office hub was to span 200,000 sq ft, instead of 325,000 sq ft, and it was to be known as MXM.
Jacob Loftus, founder and chief executive of General Projects, said: “We are thrilled to have received planning consent, and look forward to starting to deliver an incredible, inclusive and sustainable place for business to thrive in East Manchester.
“Our desire to engage with and work collaboratively with the local community does not end here. We recognise that some of our immediate neighbours opposed our proposals and sincerely hope we can move forward positively, working together to co-create the public realm that I want to be the most socially impactful property development in the UK.
“We’re absolutely committed to working with the community to refine our plans and share our ideas.”
Katie Wray, assistant director at planning consultant Deloitte Real Estate, added: “The Deloitte planning team have greatly enjoyed the challenge of working on Pollard Street, a scheme set to deliver new employment opportunities and a high-quality public realm to New Islington. Approval of the scheme marks another significant step in the next phase of regeneration for Ancoats and New Islington, and indeed East Manchester.”
Manchester-based Civic Engineers is the civil, structural and transport engineer for the project.
2–4 Whitworth Street West hotel
Developer – Aberdeen Standard Investments
Architect – Glenn Howells Architects
Planner – JLL
After being deferred in October because of councillors’ concerns over design quality, the redevelopment of 2-4 Whitworth Street West into a 152-bedroom hotel was approved by the city council.
Aberdeen Standard had submitted additional imagery to support the application ahead of yesterday’s planning committee meeting, following a request from Manchester’s chief planning officer Dave Roscoe in October.
The scheme is to see the demolition of former warehouses opposite Deansgate Locks and the construction of an eight-storey hotel building designed by Glenn Howells Architects. The developer aims to be on site next summer now consent has been secured.
Stuart Howard, senior development manager at Aberdeen Standard Investments, said: “We are pleased our development plans for 2-4 Whitworth Street West have been approved. The new hotel combined with the retail and leisure spaces will bring a new vibrancy to this important street in the city.”
Sandeep Shambi, partner at Glenn Howells, added: “Our design takes inspiration from buildings of Manchester’s past in terms of their scale, proportions and use of traditional materials, which we are using in a contemporary way to create a well-crafted masonry building that responds confidently to the emerging scale of the wider area.
“We have worked closely with the local authority to ensure the proposals are appropriate to the setting and provide a much-needed animated use and frontage that complements Deansgate Locks.”
Great Ducie Street apartments
Developer – Maryland Securities
Architect – Hodder + Partners
Planner – Deloitte Real Estate
Maryland received approval to create 129 apartments across two blocks on a site bound by Great Ducie Street and Mirabel Street, close the AO Arena. Breslyn Street divides the site in two, and a disused railway viaduct sits on the southern border.
Plans for the scheme were first lodged in March 2019 and propose a 10-storey block fronting Mirabel Street and a 14-story building fronting Great Ducie Street.
The apartments are to be a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom properties and the development will also feature 3,500 sq ft of commercial space across two units and a 2,500 sq ft roof terrace.
The project team also includes Curtins; Paul Butler Associates; Clancy Consulting on M&E; Civic Engineering; AA Projects, and JGA Fire.
Developer – Kames Property Income Fund, part of Aegon Asset Management
Architect – Sheppard Robson
Planner – CBRE
Kames wants to demolish the 1963-built Speakers House and replace it with a 17-storey office complex that would provide 135,000 sq ft of workspace.
However, the application for the £40m scheme was deferred in November pending a site visit from members of the council’s planning committee. Cllr William Jeavons had warned of a potential negative impact from the development on the St Ann’s Conservation Square Area and grade two-listed Barton Arcade on Deansgate. At yesterday’s meeting, the application was refused.
Speakers House underwent a superficial refurbishment in 2013, but has been described by Manchester’s planning officers as “in a poor state…lacking new infrastructure such as superfast broadband”, with inefficient floorplates and low floor-to-ceiling heights.
Current tenants include Greggs, Spar and The Flight Centre, as well as developers Investar Property Group and City Living. Kames’ planning consultant CBRE has said previously it is in the process of “undertaking a relocation strategy” for existing tenants, in the event that the demolition and redevelopment goes ahead.
The project team also includes Stephen Levrant Heritage Architecture, Planit-IE, GIA, Renaissance, EDPI, BWB Consulting and Curtins.
One City Road offices
Developer – Marshall CDP
Architect – Jon Matthews Architects
Planner – Deloitte Real Estate
The developer’s application for a 370,000 sq ft office scheme off City Road and Medlock Street, within Manchester’s First Street regeneration zone, was also deferred until January.
In its application lodged with the city council in October, Marshall CDP proposes the construction of two office buildings of 11 and 14 storeys on the one-acre gateway site, which it owns.
A central atrium would occupy the area between the two blocks, linking Medlock Street to a garden on Shortcroft Street. The site currently houses a 1980s office building that would be demolished under Marshall’s proposals.
The project team also includes Booth King Partnership as the structural engineer, Planit-IE as the landscape architect, and Curtins as transport consultant.
The One City Road site was one of three added to the First Street development framework in July. Together, the three sites provide scope for more than 1m sq ft of commercial space, including an office tower at Little Peter Street.