Blade And Cylinder 2
Blade and Cylinder comprise the next stage of Renaker's Crown Street development

Renaker wins on mixed day for Manchester developers  

Dan Whelan

After months without a full planning committee, the city council made up for lost time with a four-hour meeting on Thursday in which it granted consent for a pair of Renaker skyscrapers, approved one of Vita’s co-living towers on Water Street but not the other, and deferred Downing’s plans for a 45-storey block on First Street. 

All of the schemes had been recommended for approval by Manchester City Council last week.

Renaker’s dual-tower success 

Blade And Cylinder

The towers were designed by SimpsonHaugh

The developer won approval for a pair of 52-storey towers comprising 890 apartments, as part of the Great Jackson Street regeneration zone on the fringes of Manchester city centre. 

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

The plans, submitted in April, also include a 210-place primary school, 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. 

Deloitte Real Estate is the planning consultant for the project. 

Mixed bag for Vita’s Water Street co-living scheme  

Union Living Towers 2

The two Vita towers Credit: Our Studio

Also approved was the larger of the housebuilder’s two proposed co-living blocks on Water Street. The 36-storey tower will provide 806 bed spaces across 188 two-, three- and four-bedroom flats. 

A second proposed tower, at 32-storeys, was not approved but will be revisited by the committee at a later date. 

Vita, which would deliver the blocks under its Union co-living brand, bought the two sites from developer Allied London last year. Allied had prior consent for a similar two-tower development, planning for which was approved in 2017. 

The architect for Vita’s project is Denton Corker Marshall and the planning consultant is Deloitte Real Estate. 

Deferral for Downing cluster

Downing 8

The buildings would provide space for 2,224 residents

The developer’s plans for a 2,224-bedroom co-living scheme within the First Street regeneration zone had been heavily criticised by councillors in the neighbouring Hulme ward, and those concerns were reflected in the outcome of Thursday’s meetings as members voted to defer the scheme pending a site visit. 

Downing bought the plot from investment manager Patrizia last March for around £18m and wants to build a 45-storey tower alongside three stepped blocks of residential. 

  • 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.   

The flats would be split between 11 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. 

SimpsonHaugh is the architect and Deloitte Real Estate is the planning consultant.

Your Comments

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A ghost zombie car park and wasteland that is more reminiscent of Faisalabad in Pakistan is better than development, as the Hulme councillors agree.
After all, development and aspirations will make them look bad.

By RedKen

Good to see these approved. In the context of the dozens of other buildings built, planned or approved for this area they will be a nice contrast in form. And if anybody wants to ask ‘yes but are any of them affordable ?’ …well if you have to ask the question then probably not.

By Nve

We don’t need affordable accommodation in the city centre. In fact we want it to be exclusive to bring new wealthy money to the city. We don’t want the scruffs of ardwick and openshaw living in the city centre as it will do no good for the city.

By Tom

NOT Affordable to most people

By Darren born bred Salford

That Drowning cluster is a hot mess.

I don’t mind the first ones.

By Edith

When will it end. When will all the about 60 high building cranes disappear around Manchester and Salford areas. When will the property market come to a crashing end. When will they stop building these high rise ugly expensive tower blocks that are not Affordable for most people. There is a lot lot more not Affordable high rise expensive tower blocks planned for all around Salford and Manchester that are over 50 storeys high that are priced from about £225,000 to £275,000 for a 1 bed and about £250,000 to £300,000 for a 2 bed apartment. I know most of them have a gym, a sauna, fitness studio, sports hall, social room, etc etc. But these are not affordable.

By Darren born bred

Which is why Darren they are not being sold to ‘most people’ . Just those who can afford them. For everyone else there’s Langworthy, Ordsall etc etc.

By John

Hulme council houses with a view of £250,000+ apartments on one side of the road, and then £250,000+ yuppie apartments with a view of council houses on the other.

By Darren from the block

Surprise, Surprise… the SimpsonHaugh schemes get planning!

By Cheshire boy

Darren,rich and poor people live cheek by jowl in all major cities. London for instance has mansions in Little Venice in view of social housing in Queens Park. I am not sure how else a city functions. We need social housing but we need people who look after it living in it, otherwise you get the worst slum in Europe which is what Hulme was in the 80s. There is a rose coloured spectacled view of how Manchester used to be. It was a dump, I’m afraid, with all the horrors of industry, without the actual industry. Apart from Didsbury, there was nowhere remotely nice to live within the city itself. Now people choose to live in Castefield, Ancoats, Hulme, Whalley Range and even Rochdale Road.

By Elephant

“When will they stop building these high rise tower blocks?” – when there isn’t a demand for them! Some of the commentators on here need to realise we live in a capitalist society based on supply and demand, and the housing demand in the city centre is predominantly for 1 or 2 bed apartments. The Renaker scheme has larger units and is providing a small school, which is a significant improvement on place-making and community benefit than a lot of other similar developments have done, but only because they see that there will be a demand for it and it is a great marketing ploy.

By Bradford

By Anonymous

@Darren, I would say they are affordable to most people living in that area or who are planning to live in that area. Considering that the prices average £250,000 and since £250,000 is about the average UK house price for 2020, then I would say the average person could afford these average priced apartments.


At the end of the day, it’s people’s choice. Do they want to live in a expensive tower block 50 floors up that hasn’t got much room to swing a cat in or do they want to live in a nice spacious 3bed house with a front driveway for 2cars and a big front and back garden for the same price.

By Darren born bred.

Exactly Darren, it’s their choice. So stop moaning when towers like this are built to satisfy the fact that people want to live in them.

If everybody lived in one of those boring cut+paste estates with a car on the driveway, we’d soon have no countryside left. High density living is the way forward for our tiny country.

By Anonymous

@Darren born bred, will your acceptance that some people have different priorities mean you will finally give us more interesting opinions on these developments than the fact that they are not affordable housing? The post of yours above was the best you have written and explains the logic. To look at it from another angle, a person who doesn’t drive, or have a family and spend most of their time going out in the city centre may have no need for a three bedroom, double garage house deep in the suburbs where nothing happens, but be attracted by a one bedroom apartment in the city centre where as soon as they step outside, they can walk to any of the huge range of retail, bars, cafes, pubs, clubs, restaurants, galleries, museums around them, not to mention work. They may not need that garden for the outdoors (which requires a lot of work to maintain) when they spend their outdoor time in the huge opportunities the city centre offers. To them, that three bedroom house with two garages in the suburbs where nothing happens and there is nothing to walk to may feel like a prison compared to the small one bedroom apartment in the city with the wealth of opportunities at their door step. A family with two kids, two cars who don’t go out to theatres and clubs may think differently though.


These luxury appartments all around Salford and Manchester are expansive for what you get, a very small tiny flat.. I’ve got my spacious big 3bed house, also I’ve got 2parking spaces I don’t have to pay extra for(not like these appartments where you pay between £5000 and £10,000 for one parking space). Also I’ve got a nice front and back garden, which is mainly paved with a bit of grass (like many gardens), so I don’t have to maintain it, I can just take a few steps to my garden and relax((not go down in a lift for 5minutes 40/50 storeys down to the gardens at the front of the appartment blocks or get in a lift to the top of these blocks of flats, where they have rooftop garden views in the clouds). Also my housing estate(like many) has got about 5 pubs, about 5 nice restaurants, lots of shops including convenience stores, barbers, hairdressers, nice cafes, nice bars, tanning salons, banks, local doctors, gyms, library’s all within a 10 minutes walk just outside my front door, (I don’t have to get into a lift and spend 5minutes in a confined space and go 40/50 storeys down to ground level and then get through a big metal security gate, then walk about 10 minutes). Also not all people work in town, some people work around where they live. Also these housing estates like mine (and like many others) have community groups and there is always lots to do. My street had a VE celebrations a few months ago and we safety keep distance from each other, we have many community street party’s in our street about twice a year, so things do happen on our housing estates. I do know most of my neighborhood and there is a wealth of opportunities on our doorsteps. Also during lockdown months of end march, April and may, we did lots of events during the day like social distancing Keep fit, bingo etc, and also helped our elderly people quite a lot with our community. So people choice, small tiny flat 40/50 storeys up in the clouds or a big spacious house in a nice housing estates. That’s it.

By Darren born bred.

Didsbury is the only nice part of Manchester


We need houses for families, we need gardens for our children to play in, we need council houses not the flats they are building now.

By Bobby

Darren, it’s all about the location, you don’t seem to understand the housing market. I live in MCC, there’s not a chance I’d live in Salford.

By Floyd

Darren the land is too costly to build housing estates close to the city centre. No developer would put their money into a loss making scheme and neither would you. Also houses don’t suit every lifestyle and are too big or too costly for many singles or couples. Why do you want to impose huge debts on people that can not afford it?

By Flats sorry apartments

Bobby, we have houses with gardens all over the region, these flats do not replace those, this is city centre. not the place for family housing.

By Floyd

Many years ago in the 1990s, Manchester city centre was a right dump(I was going to use a swear word, but can’t). About 250 people lived in Manchester city centre. Now it’s many many thousands of people. Land prices, most of them car parks for the last 25 years cost peanuts to buy, now go for £20 million. I should have bought lots and lots of land around the city centre and Salford cheap back in the 1990s. I would have still made money charging people on the car parks for the last 25years. By now I would have sold all my car parks and got over £150 million in the bank and retired early.. Has anyone got a time machine.

By Darren born bred.

This is all about location. If this plot of land and flats (luxury apartments) was not in the city centre, say cadishead/Irlam it will go for a lot less.

By born bred Darren

I remember the Hulme flats, appalling, horrible, concrete flats on top of each other. Built in 1972 and home to 13,000 people and pulled down in the early 1990s. These were really bad

By Regular northerner.