General Projects Pollard Street View From Across Canal 2
General Projects' office complex would deliver 325,000 sq ft of offices

Pollard Street tops bumper planning bill

Dan Whelan

Three office schemes totalling 830,000 sq ft, a 129-apartment development and a 152-bedroom hotel are recommended for approval by Manchester City Council next week.

Recommended for approval


Pollard Street offices

General Projects Canal View Image October 2020

Hawkins\Brown designed the scheme

Developer – General Projects

Architect – Hawkins\Brown

Planner – Deloitte Real Estate

General Projects, a London-based developer that 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, intended to appeal to ambitious start-ups, fast-growing SMEs and more established businesses.

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 a five-acre area 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.

A total of 544 objections to the application have been received, many of which raise concerns about the loss of green space, which has “been an incredibly important place to relax and get exercise particularly during the pandemic”, according to one objector.

However, the developer’s proposals do include the delivery of more than two acres of public space, funded by a £5m investment by General Projects.

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.

The developer’s expanded proposal is intended to set a new standard for ‘social impact’ in the city. Organisations based at the campus would support local people through a ‘community give back’ scheme coordinated in partnership with Manchester City Council, according to General Projects.

Manchester-based Civic Engineers is the civil, structural and transport engineer for the project.


One City Road offices

One City Road Concept

Jon Matthews Architects designed the development

Developer – Marshall CDP

Architect – Jon Matthews Architects

Planner – Deloitte Real Estate

The developer submitted an application for a 370,000 sq ft office scheme off City Road and Medlock Street within Manchester’s First Street regeneration zone in October.

Marshall CDP proposes the construction of two office buildings of 11 and 14 storeys on the one-acre gateway site, which the developer owns. 

Under the plans, 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 wider project team 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 Manchester City Council’s First Street development framework in July, which together provide scope for more than 1m sq ft of commercial space, including an office tower at Little Peter Street.


Speakers House

39 Deansgate

The Deansgate scheme is designed by architect Sheppard Robson

Developer – Kames Property Income Fund, part of Aegon Asset Management

Architect – Sheppard Robson

Planner – CBRE

The developer wants to demolish Speakers House, built in 1963, and replace it with a 17-storey office complex that would provide 135,000 sq ft of workspace.

In November, the application for the £40m scheme was deferred pending a site visit after Deansgate councillor William Jeavons highlighted the potential impact the development would have on the St Ann’s Conservation Square Area and grade two-listed Barton Arcade on Deansgate.

The building underwent a superficial refurbishment in 2013, but has been described by council 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.

A spokesperson for CBRE, Kames’ planning consultant, said it was “undertaking a relocation strategy” for the existing tenants, engaging in dialogue with all occupiers and working with them as required.

The project team also includes Stephen Levrant Heritage Architecture, Planit-IE, GIA, Renaissance, EDPI, BWB Consulting and Curtins.


24 Whitworth Street West hotel

Whitworth Street West Deansgate Locks 01

The hotel would be located opposite Deansgate Locks

Developer Aberdeen Standard Investments

Architect – Glenn Howells Architects

Planner – JLL

The plans were deferred in October due to criticisms from councillors, who raised concerns about the quality of the scheme’s design.

The council’s planning officer David Roscoe said he would work with the applicant to “produce imagery that conveys the inherent quality of the design”.

He added that the architect, Glenn Howells Architects, has “delivered some fantastic buildings in the city and understands what is expected from development in Manchester”.

Following the October meeting, the developer has submitted additional imagery to support the application, which moots the demolition of former warehouses opposite Deansgate Locks and the construction of an eight-storey, 152-bedroom hotel.

Stuart Howard, senior development manager at Aberdeen Standard Investments, said: “We think we are presenting really exciting development plans for 2-4 Whitworth Street West, which should prove to be a catalyst for the rejuvenation of the street. [The project] will reinvigorate and bring a new vibrancy to this part of the city.”

The developer said it hopes to  be on site next summer subject to planning approval.


Great Ducie Street apartments

Maryland Hodder Great Ducie

The proposed buildings, shown here on the left, are close to the junction of Great Ducie Street and Trinity Way

Developer – Maryland Securities

Architect – Hodder + Partners

Planner – Deloitte Real Estate

The developer wants 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 would be a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom properties and the development would also feature a total of 3,500 sq ft of commercial space across two units, as well as a 2,500 sq ft roof terrace.

The professional team on the project includes Curtins; Paul Butler Associates; Clancy Consulting on M&E; Civic Engineering; AA Projects, and JGA Fire.

Your Comments

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Another bumper committee. All these proposals are fantastic and its great to see Manchester’s continued confidence in Workplace, Hospitality and Residential. We are city of people people, we love our city and we love interacting with each other. Great to see.

By Matt Pickering

The offices at Eastlands will really help to stretch the city core and pull it out towards East Manchester. Love the speakers house and one city road projects as well.

By Bob

The Speakers house proposal is particularly impressive . Should be a real asset to the city centre.

By Cityscape

Wow just no stopping development in Manchester at the moment, so much going on constantly. I thought we were doing well in Dublin but there seem to be new projects almost weekly here.

By Brendan

First St really is going to be quite the Business hub when it’s completed. With New Bailey and Spinngfields nearby that’s an awful lot of office space to fill. I’ve no doubt that they will.

By Nve

Manchester surely doesn’t need more offices or travelodges right now

By PDM

The Whitworth Street West hotel proposal is awful

By Anonymous

More good news, love it!

By James

The Travelodge building is awful and vastly inferior to the buildings its replacing. More red brick heritage buildings gone

By Jon p

Make an effort and look at the level of detail in the scheme that you can’t pick up from that one image in the article. It is a very good scheme when you take the trouble to understand it.

By Justaboutred

I love the Gt Ducie St development. I see the complaints about the lack of green space, as I’ve always said Roof gardens with public access is the way to go with this city.

By Robert Fuller

Pollard Street development – sucking all the joy out of living in Manchester.

By Chris Watson

Pollard Street – excellent
One City Road – ok
Speakers House – excellent
Whitworth Street Hotel – dull and boring and yes I have looked at the level of the detail
Great Ducie Street – ok

By Monty