Ask Real Estate is targeting a February submission for its planning application for the former Bauer Millett showroom site next to Manchester Central, which includes proposals for a 40-storey residential tower and a 14-storey office.
Ask and its joint shareholder Carillion bought the 1.74-acre plot at the base of Beetham Tower at the start of 2016, and has spent the last year working up £300m plans, dusting off designs by SimpsonHaugh & Partners for a 750,000 sq ft mixed-use scheme first announced in 2010.
The strategy for the site places an emphasis on improving pedestrian access from the Deansgate-Castlefield Metrolink stop into the city centre, and constructing a cluster of buildings to complement the 47-storey Beetham Tower.
The residential building is earmarked for next to Beetham, and is made up of 350 apartments in a mix of one, two- and three-bedrooms. The flats are being designed with the private rented sector in mind, however the final tenure is yet to be decided, and they could be available for sale.
The office is set to be built with an entrance off Albion Street, with a corner of the structure overhanging the tram line as it turns from Deansgate-Castlefield towards the city centre. The block will total 240,000 sq ft.
Both buildings will sit on top of a podium, enclosing the current service yard for Manchester Central which needs to remain operational. On top of the podium between the office and apartment block, there will be private green space for use by residents and office tenants.
There will be 8,000 sq ft of retail space delivered under the arches along Albion Street.
A new area of public realm is included in the plans, around the Deangsate-Castlefield tram stop and running towards Watson Street. The style of the public realm is intended to be consistent with the planting and materials recently installed at Deansgate-Castlefield.
When plans for the site were first mooted prior to the recession, a ‘sky park’ was included, which would have seen the podium built out over the tram stop towards Deansgate Locks. However, according to Ask, this proposal is no longer considered viable due to the extent that the build would disrupt the tenants within the Deansgate Locks units, and the structural interventions required along the canal.
Under the new proposals, the Metrolink line is expected to remain open during construction.
Planit-IE is advising on the landscaping; Curtins is the engineer.
A consultation into a joint strategic regeneration framework with Great Northern ended on 23 December, and the masterplan is due to return to Manchester City Council’s executive for consideration in February.