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
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
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.
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.
2–4 Whitworth Street West hotel
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
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.