Blade And Cylinder
Blade and Cylinder comprise the next phase of Renaker's Great Jackson Street development

Renaker, Vita, Downing schemes poised for sign off

Dan Whelan

Renaker’s 52-storey Crown Street towers next to Deansgate Square, the final phase of Waterside Places’ Islington Wharf, Downing’s 2,240-bed co-living cluster and Vita’s Water Street skyscrapers are tipped for approval at Manchester City Council’s first virtual meeting of the full planning committee. 


Crown Street 

Blade And Cylinder 3

SimpsonHaugh designed the towers

Developer: Renaker Build 

Architect: SimpsonHaugh 

Planner: Deloitte Real Estate 

Renaker is expecting to win approval for 890 apartments across two towers at the Great Jackson Street regeneration zone on the fringes of Manchester city centre. 

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

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

The plans, submitted in April, 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. 

TPM is the landscape architect. DP Squared is the 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. 

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. 

First Street Co-living 

Downing 8

The scheme would provide more than 2,200 bed spaces

Developer: Downing 

Architect: SimpsonHaugh 

Planner: Deloitte Real Estate 

Developer and contractor Downing aims to create a 2,224-bedroom co-living scheme at Manchester’s First Street, including a 45-storey tower alongside three blocks stepped in height. 

Block breakdown 

  • Of the three blocks, one, located on the corner of Hulme Street and Wilmott Street, would step up in height from 10 to 18 storeys and then again to 22. 
  • A second, at the corner of Chester Street and Wilmott Street would rise from 18 storeys, to 22 and finally up to 26. 
  • The third block, fronting Mancunian Way, would decrease from 17 storeys to 13 and then 10, stepping down from the road towards the centre of the site.  

Downing bought the site, Plot 11 on the edge of First Street, from investment manager Patrizia last March for around £18m.  

Plans for the scheme were submitted in January, including more than 2,200 bedrooms and 44,000 sq ft of amenity and surrounding public realm. 

The flats would be split between 11 different accommodation types, ranging from compact studios to five-bedroom apartments. 

The co-living proposals include 1,113 apartments, divided between one-, two-, three-, four-, and five-bedrooms, along with 1,091 studio apartments. 

Downing, which would construct the scheme, wants to start on site this year subject to approval. 

New Islington Wharf final phase 

Islington Wharf Phase 4

Islington Wharf is by Muse Developments and the Canal & River Trust

Developer: Waterside Places, a joint venture between Muse Developments and the Canal & River Trust 

Architect: Ryder Architecture  

Planner: Savills 

The fourth and final stage of Waterside Places’ New Islington Wharf scheme is up for approval 15 years after the joint venture secured consent for the first phase of the residential development. 

Comprising 106 apartments across two towers of 16 and 11 storeys respectively, the buildings would be located on the corner of Great Ancoats Street and Old Mill Street. 

Phase three is situated to the east, and phase one to the south.  

There would be 33 one-bedroom apartments and 73 two-bedroom apartments split across 77,000 sq ft. 

The project team includes Buro Four as project manager, Hydrock and Hannan Associates as engineering consultants, and Rider Levitt Bucknall as quantity surveyor. 

Subject to planning approval, work is expected to start on site in autumn 2021 with completion targeted for the end of 2022. 

Waterside Places has also brought forward projects at Granary Wharf in Leeds and Brentford Lock in London. 

Water Street Co-Living towers 

Union Living Towers 2

The two Vita towers Credit: Our Studio

Developer: Vita and Manchester Quays, a joint venture between Allied London and Manchester City Council 

Architect: Denton Corker Marshall 

Planner: Deloitte Real Estate 

Having bought two sites on Water Street within the St John’s area of the city centre from developer Allied London last year, Vita wants to build a pair of co-living towers comprising 762 apartments under its Union Living brand.

The towers would be 32 storeys and 36 storeys respectively and replace Allied London’s plans for a pair of 36-storey skyscrapers named Dime and Nickel, approved in 2017. 

Although one of Vita’s towers is four storeys taller than its neighbour, the 36-storey building provides fewer flats due to the fact that three floors are given over entirely to 21,500 sq ft of co-working space. 

Both towers would provide 180 studio apartments, available only on short-term lets of up to six months. 

The remaining units across the two towers would be two-, three- or four-bedroom co-living apartments. 

In total, the pair of towers would provide more than 1,600 bedspaces. 

Your Comments

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Manchester will never have a feeling of space and freedom. It`s overwhelming and claustrophobic. In Liverpool you can breath in the fresh clean sea air to sooth the senses, and stimulate the mind.
They could be taking a walk by the riverside, but instead they`re stuck in a glass box overlooking. and breathing in dirty air.

By Liverpool romance

Far too expensive for ordinary people to afford. I am thinking of moving to Liverpool cos it doesnt feel like its my city anymore. Yuppiechester.

LOVE the Crown Street ones.
Whenever I drive past along the Mancunian Way and look towards the city it feels incredible, even the smaller towers in the background which are totally different to the Deansgate South lot look good. I almost think Manchester suits some of the mis-match areas?

I do think there’s a fair amount of dross going up (like any city really) and design needs to continually pushed higher but I’m glad Manc is turning out well overall, even if people like to whinge on here.

By Anonymous

These buildings are not only skyscrapers, which have no place in a modern European city, they are much too close together.
Some folk are trying to turn Manchester into a mid-1980s American mid-west city. For exactly the same reason. The last thing it is about is creating an enjoyable, liveable, human-centred community: it is about maximum profit. What am I saying? I must be a Communist or somebody similarly stupid and evil. Everybody else think these skyscrapers are wonderful. Why?

By James Yates

The whole concept of co-living just sound awful to me…living in hotel sized rooms in a massive building, cells in the sky.

By Manc Man

No slowing down in Manchester

By Anon

Bedspaces for migrants

By Benny

Needs more Deloitte

By Trev

Crown Street proposal. Delete the skyscraper between the LegoTtower and the Round Tower, and I’ll approve it. As long as you provide underground parking for all those SUVs and foot and cycle paths to local shops. You remember — local shops, and local pubs; where real folk meet and … Okay, you are getting confused. Well, a kind of neighborhood community; not a village (nothing to do with sexual orientation, which once was private not a public/political ‘issue’. Neighborhoods, where neighbors meet and share their lives. Am I confusing you all?

By James Yates

Actually @Liverpool romance, as long as Manchester continues to draw in employment opportunities, there will be funding to improve the social and green infrastructure; improvements to the river and canals, to green spaces, re-allocating road space to cycle lanes and public realm, more shops bars and restaurants and leisure opportunities to service the growing population. And you can see this process happening slowly but surely with expanded metro link and cycling infrastructure and greening / pedestrianisation of deansgate. And then you have the majestic pennine foothills hills and Peak District on your doorstep.

Yes Manchester has liveability challenges as most post-industrial cities do but it’s rectifying them slowly but surely. The new high-profile appointment of the lady with a a remit to oversee public realm is a huge step forward. In 5/10 years’ time Manchester could be one of the most attractive cities in the UK with both a vibrant local economy and a beautiful, walkable, livable, dense and compact city centre.

By Manc Union

Love the Crown Street proposal, there are some great buildings being built in Manchester.

By Monty

None of these are in ‘your’ city Darren from Salford

By Manc

@ James Yates – I can assume you, having lived in the city centre for a good number of years that there is indeed a community, where people go to local shops, and local bars…

By Manc

Looks great . and although some people are locked on perma witter whenever they see something taller than their house being built, this area has for a long time been set aside for a whole cluster of skyscrapers along with the area around Greengates and there is a lot more to come. Manchester will continue to develop and grow at an astonishing rate compared to most other cities and if you don’t like it too bad…its happening !

By Nve

All looks great apart from boring water street towers.

By Tam

All these schemes are aesthetically attractive and I love the CGI for the Cylinder, there are too few residential/office buildings in M/cr which are circular in part of their structure, the beautiful new Co-op HQ is the only one which springs to mind. Ian Simpson once said that M/CR can’t afford to construct curvaceous buildings. Maybe his budgets have increased. I also love the flexibility of the six-month maximum lease, probably all inclusive. Fact is that MCR has tens of thousands of people, including construction workers & technical staff who stay in the City for a few weeks or months and it maybe too expensive/not cost effective to stay all that time in a Hotel or Aparthotel. Also , MCR is the only provincial city which retains more than 50% of its Graduate/Postgraduate/PhD students and together with other favourable socioeconomic factors, the demand for living within/around the inner ring road will continue for some time. I think that more accommodation needs to be built for key workers and people visiting the city for a few weeks/months who require comfortable accommodation with inclusive bills, services in-house and flexibility moving in and out.

By Bilderburg Attendee

James Yates, your comments regarding sexuality and a village are out of order and unnecessary. People who suffer violence, abuse and discrimination because of their sexuality is a political issue. I’m happy your life is so simple.

By Anonymous

@James Yates, yes your comment is a little bit confusing (although partly due to the grammar and spelling). Are you referring to the Victorian slums of inner city Manchester?
@Darren, can we all please get over this idea that towns and cities should be frozen at a certain period of history (i.e. the point when you were born here). At some time in the past your ancestors moved here. At some point your house/flat was newly built. At some point even Salford was green fields, or broadleaf forest, or some kind of primordial soup. That doesn’t mean we should accept all development, at all costs. But this isn’t your city, it’s our city, past, present and future. That’s how cities work.

By Dared to move

Dared to move makes a valid point. In the industrial revolution Southerners from rural areas came to the North West for work. This is simply history repeating itself. Manchester has always been a city where ideas flourished.

By Elephant

Ugh, ugh and then some more ugh :|

PS. @Trev – you made me snort my coffee!

By MancLad

Liverpool has air pollution which is nearly as bad as Manchester unfortunately :( I wouldn’t breathe in too hard @ Liverpool romance.

Also Manchester has more green space than Liverpool. That’s not including the wider GM region which also includes parts of the Peak District. Although it definitely needs more in the city centre, which they are starting to do.

I think people prefer to live in Manchester because of that big city feel.

By Anonymous

Manchester is a prosperous city which is attractive to graduates and young professionals from all over the country and the world, more people are moving here in their mid-twenties than any other city bar London. Believe it or not folks, young professionals want to live in a big city, close-by to work, bars and restaurants in apartments, whilst there is demand the towers will carry on being built. I’m glad i’m not in the suburbs just yet because judging by all the comments here all you middle-aged people do is moan and seem to be stuck in the industrial dark ages.

By New Wave

New wave, I’m 65 and it’s glorious what I’m watching, unbelievable how the city is expanding and progressing. Its just keeps on changing and changing – for the better.
Some very good comments by the way except for of course liverpool romance (hilarious or what) and Darren who’s really a scouser.

By Phildered

These high rise expensive appartments are everywhere at the moment and many many more are planned around ancoats, Hulme, city centre, old Trafford, Salford quays, greengate and around chapel Street and regent road in Salford. None are affordable.

By Darren born bred.

Darren, not everybody wants to live in Salford slum with the other uneducated mouth breathers like you. Get over it, pal. You’re out of touch with reality and your insistance on deeming every new development unaffordbale and for yuppies is tiresome. What an absolute nause you are.

By Not Darren from Salford