Whitworth Street Public Realm

Urban & Civic makes major revisions at Whitworth Street

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Urban & Civic has revised its proposals for the development of the former Origin site in Manchester city centre, removing the hotel element after being unable to secure a four-star operator, and adapting the materials due to cost.

The scheme on the corner of Whitworth Street and Princess Street was granted planning permission in January, for 240 flats across two buildings, and a hotel designed by SimpsonHaugh & Partners.

According to the new application, the hotel will be replaced with another apartment block, made up of 111 flats, bringing the total number of units on the site to 351. The apartments are all intended for sale. There will also be 254 parking spaces on site over a four-level basement car park.

The new plans also detail changes to the building materials, with the terracotta façade being replaced with brick.

Whitworth Street New Facade Dec 2016

New proposed facade


Previously approved scheme

Previously approved scheme

Urban & Civic previously said it intended to start construction by spring 2016, but there was no movement on site, amidst rumours that the project had come up against cost issues in regard to construction.

According to Adam Brooks, senior project manager at Urban & Civic, while the developer had been targeting a high-end operator for the Whitworth Street hotel, it had not received a “commercially viable” proposal, and felt that budget operators were not appropriate for the site.

In regards to the façade, Brooks said that the approved terracotta had “proved expensive”, and required a costly construction technique to hold the weight and enable adequate soundproofing. Following revisions, he said that the new brick material, while cheaper, was popular with the city council and more in keeping with the style of the area.

Urban & Civic is working with preferred contractor Carillion. Brooks said that the developer now intends to be on site in March with a 26-week programme of works on the basement of the buildings.

The main works are yet to be tendered, but following the confirmation of the contractor, the full project could begin in June.

The one-acre former Origin site was sold to Urban & Civic in 2014, as part of a portfolio previously owned by developer Donal Mulryan’s company West Properties.

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This is typical of a London developer doing little due diligence and expecting the market to play catch up with the price paid. There are a number of sites in the City that are atrugggling to get off of the ground because people have overpaid.

By Renter

I’m not sure that brick is “more in keeping” with Manchester than terracotta. Many of the old commercial warehouses along whitworth street and elsewhere are lavishly dressed with terracotta.

By Whitworthy

Nobody will miss this. Build a park or create an open market.Either are preferable to the DWP in South Norwood architecture,in these pictures. People in Manchester are sick to death of bomb sites in their city for years on end like this,surrounded by boards.

By Elephant

I believe the original cladding specified was coming in at £1700sqm, yet more evidence of a signature architect running amok with the
clients budget and having no comprehension of viability. Reflects pretty badly on U&C also for allowing it to get to that stage.

By BDay

Still good, great scheme.

By Janet