Skyline From Whalley Range

VIDEO | Manchester’s skyline in 2025

Comments (53)

A fly-through video of Manchester’s future skyline has revealed how the city will have changed by 2025 if all current proposals for tall buildings come to fruition.

The video, produced by Ed Howe of UrbInfo for Place North West, shows the city’s skyline in 2025 from a range of views, including the route into the city from Airport Hotel, Oxford Road, and Old Trafford.

In 2017, Howe created a similar video showing development of the Manchester skyline in 2022. Towers designed by SimpsonHaugh around Great Jackson Street dominate, including Deansgate Square by developer Renaker, which reaches 67-storeys and is already under construction, as well as Renaker’s neighbouring 52-storey Crown Street, and DeTrafford’s 37-storey Transition.

Near to Beetham Tower, Ask Development’s Viadux, also designed by SimpsonHaugh, made up of a 40-storey residential building and 14-storey office, is visible alongside Property Alliance Group’s recently completed Axis, designed by Jon Matthews.

The view along Oxford Road from the Manchester University campus shows Select Property Group and Bruntwood’s Circle Square once completed, including its highest building of 36 storeys, and the wider development of offices and residential blocks. Near to The Principal hotel, the video shows a 37-storey project by Unite Students at New Wakefield Street, by SimpsonHaugh, alongside proposals from Student Castle at Hulme Street. The architect is Glenn Howells, the height is unconfirmed, but looks to be around 50 storeys.

Skyline From Aquatics

View into Manchester from the Aquatics Centre

At Allied London’s St John’s, the video pans to show the two 36-storey PRS buildings Nickel & Dime, designed by Denton Corker Marshall, and the 52-storey St John’s Place, by SimpsonHaugh.

According to Howe, Manchester now has a larger tall buildings pipeline than any other European city outside London. There are more tall buildings under construction or proposed than in Paris, Berlin, Rotterdam, Lisbon and Munich combined.

He said: “Tall buildings are essential to Manchester’s development. They maximise land efficiency and take pressure of the city’s transport network by concentrating homes and businesses in the city’s compact, walkable core.

“Tall buildings have the potential to deliver up to 28,000 new homes for Manchester, taking pressure off the Green Belt. 2018 saw more tall buildings start construction in Manchester than any other year on record, while 36 new tall buildings were proposed, also representing a new record. ”

Howe used Google Sketchup to render proposed buildings, taking elevations from the various planning applications to make the buildings identifiable. Sketchup allows the user to build models to an accurate scale, whilst Google Earth puts these buildings on the exact sites.

Skyline From Airport Hotel

View into the city on the drive passing the Britannia Airport Hotel

Your Comments

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Manchester by SimpsonHaugh.

By MrWhite

wow! a bunch of tall bland rectangles. absolutely nothing unique about it whatsoever. still progress is progress.

By Anonymous

Ah, the iconic Manchester skyline, said no one ever.

By Yawn

If you deconstruct this article ‘There are more tall buildings under construction or proposed than in Paris, Berlin, Rotterdam, Lisbon and Munich combined’ and ‘Tall buildings are essential to Manchester’s development. They maximise land efficiency and take pressure of the city’s transport network by concentrating homes and businesses in the city’s compact, walkable core’ then what it actually says is ‘if Manchester had a comparable public transport network to these other cities then it wouldn’t need to build so many tall towers and would (potentially) be a more attractive place to live and work in the future.

By UnaPlanner

What a dreadful lack of variation and identity. It certainly looks quiet in that last image…

By LionelRichTea

From the usually excellent and informative Place NW, I’m finding this all a bit strange… ‘make the buildings look photo-realistic’ – hardly. And ‘build models to millimetre proximity’ – what does this even mean?? The massive boxes with minimal articulation (the models, not necessarily the designs) doesn’t half make Manchester look like a dystopian vision of our shared future. The view from Hulme is particularly ridiculous.

By Hmmm

Scary stuff. A good warning – can we as an industry start to take responsibility please? I wouldn’t want to live in this vision.

By This Topea

It feels quite exciting in Manchester at the moment but this makes the future look quite uninspiring and.. boxy.

By Thumbs Down

Looks great, where is it again?

By Jumbo

Those criticizing the skyline for its blandness and uniformity need to understand this isn’t London; land values in Manchester (and every other regional city for that matter) are not yet high enough to allow for Shards, Cheese-graters and Gherkins to be built. You have to start somewhere…

By Alex B.

So many Lego type blocks with zero design quality isn’t going to win any civic pride awards anytime soon.
Developers and architects making vast profits, encouraged by the city council to design such benal architectural soulless blocks should be ashamed they’ve despoil the rich heritage of the city.
You’d never see a Shard or a Gherkin design quality in the city as it’s all too easy for the developers/architects to design stuff that’s pretty much similar to the existing high rise dross that’s dominating the Manchester skyline.
You may as well show how it’ll look in 10 or even 20 years time as it’ll be more of the same no doubt!

By Rage against Manc’s Lego blocks!



Una Planner, those cities are much more densely built then Manchester and car use isn’t feasible for most people in those cities, hence the better public transport networks they have. Manchester has a dense core and then sprawling suburbs and therefore car use is more feasible. Manchester has been building it’s transport network quite extensively since the ’90s and in case you didn’t see then 2040 transport plan, check it out, it’s going to grow at an even faster rate over the next 20 years!

By Tofu

Commenters need to chill on the ‘design quality’ in the video. It’s a Google Sketchup mock up based off the elevations rather than fully rendered CGIs or similar!

It’s exciting to see so much development – just need to go past Deansgate Square on the tram to see this in reality.

By Anon

It’s amazing to see the criticism here based on the renders. Considering we don’t pay to read these articles, they still managed to commision this fly through. These are not photo realistic renders which would cost a fortune but they do show the extent of highrises and where they will be. It may be that the final buildings are not well designed, but it may also be that they are – that is a different story which Place North West shows in other articles with high resolution static renders.

As someone who has grown up in cities with lots of skyscrapers, I look forward to these developments here. Manchester was not a pretty place 20 years ago and it is infinitely better now.

Thanks Ed for taking the effort to create the flythrough and thanks Place North West for publishing it and your excellent work informing us of developments in our local area free of charge without a website destroyed by advertising (like Manchester Evening News)

By eod

Manchester needs tall buildings. Admit it. Accept it. Move on.

By Cheshire boy

I think Deansgate Square is pretty special. There is a mirage look to those towers in a certain light. You cannot say that everyone of these towers is that good, Axis is ghastly but some of them are good and like eod says Manchester was not very pretty or just another Leeds or Birmingham twenty years ago. Now it is looking great. It even looks good in the rain now with all the skyscrapers peeping through the grey.I wish they would get cracking on that bit near the cathedral though. That is grim.

By Elephant

Great, but when is Liverpool going to get its share? Manchester is not the capital of the north no matter how difficult that is for Mancunians to understand.

By Mucky Mike

Mucky Mike – Never

By N Gallagher

Mucky Mike – When it behaves itself and washes its hands before dinner

By L Gallagher

Tall buildings, can be fantastic inspiring and iconic.
Sadly these are not.

By zoro

Very interesting video. Many thanks Ed Howe.

By Anonymous

Schools still on holiday?

By Blur

Sim City

By Irritatingly true.

AS pointed out, these are not photo realistic renders, just approximations. Also, for people asking about why none of these buildings look like the shard? I think people fail to grasp how expensive building towers of this type is…it speaks volumes that Manchester is the only place outside London where most developers see buildings of this height as viable. Also remember that even for London the shard was only viable because it was built in a (“less desirable”) part of the city, and to my knowledge some of the most expensive apartments are still not sold. Remember as you go up the floors in a building like the shard, the price per square foot rises as the floor-plates become smaller – that’s just not viable in a city like Manchester.

I’m certainly not a fan of everything being built in Manchester – but ‘if’ the market can sustain it then more ambitious designs will follow – however that will bring its own problems with affordability for local people, something many argue is already out of control.

By Coolmanc

How very sad… this could be anywhere by anybody. Make it Manchester. Contextualism requires much more thought than filling the gaps with glass towers. These towers should not be just the latest way to build two-bed apartments with little or no storage for people’s “stuff”. Elevations should not be “shifted windows” or as the wonderfully insightful and late lamented Isy Metzstein referred to it as “effing bar-code elevations!” This approach would not be acceptable in Madrid, Paris, Chicago or Berlin, why here? There is a better, perhaps less greedy way…

By David Simister Architect ARB RIBA FRIAS

Awful and completely dated but fitting for grim Capital.

By Danny

Comment section demonstrates the amount of insufferable oafs we have plaguing this country, contrarianism and nimbyism is rife. Most of you need to grow up and get an education before commenting on things you have no knowledge of. If you want to live in a dreary town with no ambition, littered with rabbit hutch housing developments with no street life and be completely isolated, be our guests. However somewhere such as Manchester looks beyond the parochial borders you numpties seem to adore, and this means becoming a true international city. Skyscrapers (yes, boxy ones) are part of that natural progression and it’s actually economically and environmentally much more sustainable than your preferred way of living. If you are against that then you are a buffoon.

Rant over, the skyline looks great and I am sure having all those extra people in the city will make it even more of an exciting place to be (looking forward to seeing what sort of impact it’ll have on the street life).

By The Squirrel's Nuts

Match boxes and sardine tins don’t , you haven’t made it!!!

By don

So many apartments yet so many homeless. Yes Manchester, you have it all. Personally I just wouldn’t want it.

By Kop for it

On thing that does come across from the video, is that the ‘scrapers have no point of focus. They are scattered randomly throughout the city, so despite all the new building, there’s no real shape to their presence. Dense clusters contrasted to surrounding lower rise look so much better than this low density scattergun approach. Unless, of course, they are planning to turn the whole city into Hong Kong by 2050.

By Denby

these buildings will have much less impact when viewed from the street because of the tight knit street pattern. Stand in most parts of the city centre and you would have no idea of where the Hilton tower is! When you can see it it is generally part of a dynamic rather than a static experience.

By Fanofcity

Deluded Mancunians need to get out more !!!!


Mucky Mike, they don’t build tall buildings in villages do they?


@CBA, Don’t be rude to your betters, it shows ignorance and immaturity, please go and finish your crayoning, there must be lots to do?

By Irritatingly true.

There seems to be a lot of jealousy coming out of Liverpool.

By Poynton Guy

Very impressive, Manchester truly is the capital of the North, by leaps and bounds really! Only leeds can hold the slightest torch to Manchester, its good to have all those tertiary towns serving it, Bury, Bolton, Liverpool etc, you know like feeder towns supporting the capital.

By Anonymous

The capital of the North is London. England does not have regional capitals. It had county towns which for the North West were or still are Chester,Lancaster,Appleby and Carlisle but not a centre of government for the whole North. York is probably the obvious place if the North was given similar devolution to Scotland, to be the capital as it is the second city ecclesiastically.That is never going to happen though is it.

By Elephant

Dear Una Planner: Well said! Is there any hope? Must we go to Amsterdam, Brugge, Zurich, Cologne, Geneva, Copenhagen, Munich and so on, to see what a liveable and human-city can be like. Or should we visit mid-West USA cities to experience the future of Manchester. By the way, in 2002 Munich citizens (hundreds of thousands actually live in the city. I know I wont be believed) decreed that no new building can be higher than the town hall (85 meters). Of course, Manchester wants to be live Detroit and Huston and ,,,,, Why? Would we rather live in Vienna, Zurich, Geneva, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Munich, Salzburg or a US-type city? We all know the answer. So why are we building what we dont want?

By James Yates

@Elephant glad you pointed this out as some people have the IQ of a peanut

By James

James Yates, those cities listed were already beautiful,historic cities, Manchester was not. Of course nobody wants to see a Skyscraper next to a Vienna palace or in the middle of The Hague. Manchester does not have places like that to start with. It has more in common with 19th century American cities,with the overhead railway and factories very close to the centre.The Northern Quarter has doubled for New York in quite a few films.I would not advocate a skyscraper being built in Bath or Edinburgh but they fit well into the Victoriana of Manchester.

By Elephant

Feels like there is a false dichotomy here between lovely, dense, low rise European city, and soulless high rise US mediocrity surrounded by endless surburbia. If you’ve ever been to these US cities there is a dense CBD surrounded by vast swathes of car parking, then scruffy poor dangerous inner suburbs and then leafy prosperous outer suburbs with very little public transport. If you look at the GMSF the aim is create nothing like that kind of environment. That said, Manchester and Salford are undertaking a bold experiment with this volume of residential high rise accommodation compared to every other UK regional metro – I guess we are a city that backs itself.

By Rich X

Every city is different thank goodness. We should celebrate what we have and who we are and not strive to be somewhere else that we will never be.. Let’s not forget, the Victorians were serious vandals. Had they had the ability to build 50 storey buildings they almost certainly would have done

By Cosyclub

Irritatingly true, as Cheshire Boy says “Manchester needs tall buildings. Admit it. Accept it. Move on”

PS, bet I finished my crayoning! before you completed your Leggo, now stop spitting your dummy out!!


Hi all – comments which take this thread too off topic or are abusive towards other individuals/groups will not be approved, as per the Place North West comments policy – Jessica (editor)

By Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Lots of activity but sadly uninspiring, can’t blame the architects as their designs are often scaled back to maximise profit for the developers. This could be anywhere, sadly it is Manchester.

By B. Land

Didn’t we learn from the 60’s?

By Oh Dear

How tall can these buildings reach, before they become unviable? There must be a limit because of the market forces and selling values?
It must be very expensive to go over a certain height?

By meglamania

It may have a couple of rectangle point out the ground but does not have no midrise building. Birmingham on the other hand is seen it start of construction boom, and the HS2 is coming ever fast. Birmingham has such better midrise, and it starting to get it talls.

By Anonymous

Another great video by Ed Howe of Urbinfo. Manchester is looking fantastic!

By Steve Birchall

These images of what is to become Manchester are quite soul destroying. They look like a random scattering of dull rectangles, which in essence is all they are. I do not oppose tall buildings, every large city should have them but these do not compliment each other at all. They do not look unique to Manchester or represent the city in a positive way, I certainly would not wish to live in one either.

By Mr H

i have lived in Manchester for 63 years when i was born the only parts of the Skyline was the CIS building

By alfie mcgill

Always good to see the work of fellow drone operators.

By Patrick at Lunar Aerial Imaging