Council leader Cllr Sir Richard Leese has dismissed as “silly” some of the arguments against the controversial St Michael’s towers proposed close to Albert Square by a development consortium including footballers, Far East investors and Manchester City Council.
In his latest blog post on the city council’s website, Leese wrote: “Of course some elements of design are very subjective in nature, beauty in the eye of the beholder and all that. We’ve seen that in the debate over Tadao Ando’s pavilion [concrete wall] in Piccadilly Gardens and now in the debate over the designs for the St Michaels scheme on Bootle Street/Lloyd Street.”
Leese continued: “People will like it or they won’t but I’ve heard some pretty silly arguments, not least that the development would somehow overshadow the Town Hall. The only really good views of the Town Hall are from Albert Square or along Brazennose Street and when you’re looking at the Town Hall from these locations you wouldn’t be able to see the new development, and if you’re looking at the proposed development you can’t see the Town Hall. Think some people just don’t like tall buildings.”
Pre-planning consultation close last week for the proposal. A planning application is due to be submitted in the coming weeks.
St Michael’s is funded by a £150m consortium deal with Singaporean-based Rowsley and Beijing Construction Engineering Group. The development consortium is made up of Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, developer Brendan Flood and Manchester City Council.
The proposal is for two residential towers, one of 21 storeys and another of 31 storeys, to be built on the site between Jackson’s Row and Bootle Street currently occupied by Manchester Reform Synagogue, the Sir Ralph Abercromby pub and former police station, which would be demolished to make way for development.
The design is by Make Architects. Zerum is development manager.