Blade And Cylinder
The 'Blade' and 'Cylinder' towers will provide 950,000 sq ft of residential space

Renaker submits plans for pair of 51-storey towers

Dan Whelan

The developer is advancing its Crown Street project by submitting an application for 890 apartments across two towers at Great Jackson Street in Manchester city centre. 

The two towers, named Blade and Cylinder, form the second phase of Renaker’s Crown Street development close to Deansgate, and would offer one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments across 950,000 sq ft of residential space. 

The towers are connected at the lower levels by a podium containing 5,200 sq ft of commercial space.  

The plans also include a 210-place primary school, a three-level basement car park and a public park.

The site covers 2.7 acres and is next to Chester Road roundabout and Mancunian Way. 

Blade And Cylinder From Above

From left: The proposed school, Blade, and Cylinder

The 664-apartment first phase of Crown Street comprises the topped-out 21-storey Victoria Tower and the adjoining 51-storey Elizabeth Tower, which is due to be constructed within the next 12 months.  

All four buildings are designed by SimpsonHaugh. 

Crown Street is one of the first phases of development within the masterplan for the Great Jackson Street area. This includes Deansgate Square, Renaker’s four-tower cluster. 

London-based Maslow Capital last October announced financial backing for Crown Street, in the form of a £123m development loan. 

The planner for Crown Street is Deloitte, and TPM is landscape architect. DP Squared is structural engineer, MEP Design is providing building services and Heritage Architecture is also on the project team. 

Vectos, Hoare Lea, WSP and Erap are consulting on transport, fire, fluid dynamics and ecology respectively. 

Click on any image to launch gallery

Your Comments

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Do we really need any more?
Enough is enough.

By Mrs Hindle

No, we don`t need more, we just want them. Too many moaners.

By Anonymous

Wow… kinda sexy and futuristic

By Anonymous

What a beaut

By B.simpson


By Luke

Ha what a joke we don’t need any more high rise flats

By Bob G

Primary school wedged between two glass towers?

By A

SimpsonHaugh really don’t know how to make a building engaging at ground level, do they

By Denizen

Skyscrapers in a city centre. The absolute horror of that Mrs Hindle! Lets carve up more greenfield sites instead.

By x

These new buildings look fantastic.The more the merrier.

By jack

Of course!
Fantastic designs.

By Anonymous

These look great let’s hope they get built.

By Monty

The market shall dictate whether any more are needed

By Anon

I am fed up with contractors working for renaker parking in St George’s all day.

By St George's

If developers can sell them then yes, clearly we do need more. What would you put there Mrs Hindle?

By Mr Shankly

Love the designs. Finally something a bit different!! Get it built.
Although I hope they intend to include a doctors and dental surgery here for the thousands of new residents in the area. Existing ones will not cope otherwise!

By Steve

These look awful and are way too high. Back to the drawing board.

By Anonymous

A replica of the Birmingham Rotunda. We are now getting designs back from 1965… Jesus wept. They look so out of context with the surroundings.

By EggManc

@Mrs Hindle. Why is there enough? These will not be built just because they are there. They will be built because there is a need for them, a market.

We have a shortage of homes in Greater Manchester for a start, and Manchester’s population is growing.

We need more residential in the city centre for many reasons:
– Less reliance on road or our fledging public transport for people to get to work (great for the environment)
– Population support for shops in the central city against competition from suburban malls & online shopping
– Population support for restaurands and pubs in the city centre, making our city a lively, virbrant place
– High density living reduces the need to expand the city out, eating up more greenbelt and countryside
– and really, some people love to live in the city centre, love apartments and love the views from skyscrapers.


Cladding identical to Deansgate Square… groundbreaking.

By Anonymous

Steve – A Medical Centre is already part of the ongoing Crown Street project next door.

By Mrqs

Agree with the cladding comment, different shape same cladding

By Ju

regarding your comment: “Primary school wedged between two glass towers?” Why on earth not? What could you possibly think is bad about that idea? Is it the glass? Is it the towers? What?

Do you think there are no schools on Manhattan? Do you think that there are no central city schools anywhere else in the world (where most cities have skyscrapers)? Just because it is a new concept in Manchester doesn’t mean it hasn’t been tried and tested abroad and there is no negative aspect to it.

I’ve even seen a school at the top floor of a skyscraper in Frankfurt! They had a huge outdoor area surrounding the building at the roof level and German cities can teach Manchester a thing or two, what with their strong economies, quality parks, urban lifestyle, amazing public transport, medical facilities and more. Not that I’m suggesting they put a school at the top of a skyscraper here, but at the bottom it is just like any other urban school in the world.


Hopefully people learn to use their curtains…think of the children!

By Anonymous

If people don’t like them then fine (you’re more than entitled to have your opinion) but “out of context”? They’re going beside 4 already existing glass towers, with another half way up and other schemes in the pipeline – they couldn’t be more in context with their surroundings.


Good to see some education use plus other facilities going in although is a single entry primary going to be sufficient with all the residential being proposed in this area ? Its a great scheme although with limited green space and balconies I’m not sure I’d want to be in lock down there.

By at home

Not too shabby and appropriate for the location. The street level looks pants though.

By Acelius

Same dated facade treatment as all the other SH towers. This continues the SH monopoly of this area and will be a blight on mcr in the not too distant future.

By ?

Fantastic news. Just we need. Keep up the positive vibes.

Oh and also, why so much negativity around the height?

By Cheshire boy

Which part of the adjacent 5 skyscrapers is this development out of context with ?

By Anon

A change from the usual in the tower exteriors, and incorporating a much needed school? Gets my vote.

By A N Admirer

Will the outdoor space ever get any sunlight? Manchester desperately needs greenspace to go along with all of the new development. I’m not sure this will ever get used though, in the permanent shade of these towers?

By Mr T

MORE OF THE SAME from SimpsonHaugh..

By manc

Does anyone know if these additional facilities are for public use, or just residents of the new blocks?

By Babmacc

Absolutely love the progress but are they actually selling/renting, 2 bed apartment for £1600/£1700 plus bills etc… Have I missed the 30k new jobs suddenly paying over the local market rate?

By Pineapple Chunx

It says in the article that there is to be a public park as part of the development. School’s however tend not to be open for Joe Bloggs to walk in.

By Anon

More Renaker shoebox apartments on a shoestring budget. Great.

CTRL, C & V keys must wear out daily in the SimpsonHaugh offices.

“Mr Simpson Sir, they’re beginning to realise all our tower designs are the same”

“So give it some curves. Not too many mind, make one a circle!”

“Inspirational Sir”.

By Bored Engineer

What the problem with having the same cladding if it looks good? It’s some of the nicest cladding I’ve seen on a new build and the overall presentation looks timeless, especially up close.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for variety and it’s definitely something that Manc needs to start doing if it’s going to start competing with other European cities, although there is some evidence of more radical thinking demonstrated at the proposed Cotton Quay for instance. But I think the collection of these towers together will look fantastic. That area already looks like the best cluster in the UK imo.

By Anonymous

As long as the transition development happens and all the remaining towers in the great jackson street are not glass blocks with the same facade treatment (more brick/terracotta etc) the whole area should look great with two tall glass clusters either side of the area. However I have to agree the ground street interaction looks awful for what will be a dense city centre neighbourhood, as well as the lack of the thought of how the whole development interacts with Mancunian way and Hulme Park

By Anonymous

@Bored Engineer, that’s an interesting point you bring up. Not the one about their buildings all looking the same as the round one is the only round skyscraper in Greater Manchester and one of the few in Europe. But the bit about shoebox-sized apartments. Now, I don’t know what the size is of these apartments, but the nearby Deansgate ones are actually a decent size, so I hope these are as well. If they are not, shame on them. The UK has the smallest homes in the Western World and with the average size of new builds, it’s on the way to having the smallest in the developed world as we are even building smaller newbuilds than Japan now. That said, it’s not only small new apartments in the UK, so many Victorian buildings have the tiniest rooms. They have living rooms the size of most other country’s bathrooms. As for these buildings, I’d like to know what the size of these apartments are before jumping to conclusions.



Stick to engineering mate.

“shoestring budget”? Care to provide an example of a facade treatment that is more expensive than a faceted unitised system that is detailed on these schemes?

By Mrqs

Slightly less dull than the previous phases, though they have set a very low bar. Woefully short on public open space for the number of units around there- we need to remember that central Manchester is exceptionally poor in this respect and we need to do much better.

By Gene Walker

Simple and classy, nice addition to this part of the city.

By Anonymous

For all those bemoaning lack of green space in proximity to these towers – do you not realise this is just across the road from Hulme Park?

By Bob

These actually look impressive and with a lot more planned for this area it will be good to see the overall masterplan and how this will interact with the other tall buildings nearby. Two significant clusters developing now, here and Greengate. Just one super tall in the middle right where the Arndale tower is and i’ll be happy.

By Nve

@ Mrqs

I wouldn’t know about the Facade, but if the previous schemes are anything to go by the building services specification will be the absolute cheapest possible systems. You’d think they begrudge having to supply ventilation or water.

Lowest price =/= best value, but I guess the view is that when you’re building them to flip to investment funds that’s their problem.
As long as the facade looks expensive and the other boxes are ticked, right?

By Bored Engineer

The cladding is by far the most important thing. Maybe there are other important things like the height and whether the skyscrapers create a “cluster”. I may not understand anything about construction or engineering but I spend a lot of time at home looking at pictures of Manchester buildings on my computer screen and commenting on them so I know how important it is that the cladding makes it look expensive and modern. These look really good!

By SSC Cladding Enthusiast

I’d really like to know more about the school, less of the towers.
A new school in this area is much bigger news. It deserves a case study/interview PNW?

A ‘city centre’ primary must be a real design, funding and operational challenge:
– What is the school design proposal actually like,
– To what standards has would it be designed (space standards/DFE),
– Is an ‘operator’ on board? etc.

What special consideration has there been for how are the tots not going to get blown over by the down-drafts at play time – as we see ground winds at the foot of such towers is a real problem. (Keeping them inside in wet days is bad enough, not with the addition of when there is a breeze causing cancelling out door play).

it isn’t just a bolt-on like a gym or retail unit, is it?
How does a 210 place primary actually flesh out here.
Have SimpsonHaugh actually designed something? or will the plot be passed on?

A plot allocation and some cash for section 106 contribution is not really good enough.

By Optimist