The eagerly awaited planning application for the controversial city centre project has been submitted to Manchester City Council, with some alterations to materials used but no changes in height.
The submitted application for the Bootle Street site seeks permission for a 201-bedroom five-star hotel, 159 apartments, 138,000 sq ft of offices and 49,000 sq ft of retail and leisure across 15 units, including two new sky bars and restaurants. There are also three areas of public realm, and a new building for the Manchester Reform Synagogue.
Manchester City Council is development partner in the St Michael’s scheme, alongside former footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, and developer Brendan Flood, under the company name of Jackson’s Row Developments.
The mixed-use project off Albert Square was initially controversial due to plans to demolish all historic buildings on site, including the old police station, and Abercrombie pub. When detailed designs by Make Architects were revealed last July showing two black-clad towers of 21 and 31 storeys, criticism against the scheme grew due to its scale so close to civic buildings such as the Town Hall and Central Library.
Following a public consultation, the developers have made some changes to the project. The most significant is the appearance of the two towers. While no change has been made to height, which the developer maintains is necessary to ensure viability, the cladding has gone from black to anodised bronze. The additional cost of the cladding is estimated at £1m.
In addition, a narrow access route across the site from Bootle Street is proposed to increase permeability. The alley will be open all the time, which creates a potential crime risk, however Greater Manchester Police has been consulted prior to the application being submitted.
Gary Neville, director of Jackson’s Row Developments, said: “Having worked on this site for over ten years, it is extremely exciting to finally reach this milestone and submit the planning application for St. Michael’s. The scheme will transform an underused part of the city and will offer an incredible statement in architecture and development for Manchester.
“Ken Shuttleworth [of Make Architects] has a rich history in pushing boundaries and helping cities expand and evolve through architecture.”
Alongside Make, St Michael’s has appointed JM Architects to see the project through delivery stage. The development is funded by a £150m consortium deal with Singaporean-based Rowsley and Beijing Construction Engineering Group, who is also the contractor.
Talks are ongoing with two London-based five-star hotel operators.
Neville continued: “St. Michael’s has received significant coverage both locally and nationally. We have undertaken extensive public consultation and have taken on board comments wherever possible from Historic England, PlacesMatter! and the general public. The imagery we have issued today is the final proposal and our hope is to be on site by the end of summer 2017.”
The St Michael’s planning application was submitted by planning consultant, Zerum Consult.