Path clear for Downing’s £300m Manchester co-living cluster  

George Downing Construction, the developer’s contracting arm, has been given the go-ahead to start building the 2,224-bedroom scheme on First Street, following the signing of a legal agreement with the city council. 

Last September, Downing Living’s co-living development, which features a 45-storey tower, was approved alongside a raft of other schemes totalling more than £1bn of investment. 

The developer had hoped to start on site last year but construction of the project could not begin until Downing and Manchester City Council signed a Section 106 agreement outlining the conditions that must be met to progress the project. 

That agreement was finally signed earlier this week.

Plans for the £300m co-living cluster were first lodged in January 2020. Two unsuccessful airings in front of the planning committee followed, before the scheme was approved despite concerns from Hulme ward councillors. 

Downing 7

Downing bought the site from Patrizia for around £18m

The co-living proposals include 1,113 apartments, divided between one-, two-, three-, four-, and five-bedrooms, along with 1,091 studio apartments.    

Around 44,000 sq ft of amenity and surrounding public realm are contained in the proposals. The flats would be split between 11 accommodation types, ranging from compact studios to five-bedroom apartments.   

Downing bought the site, Plot 11 on the edge of First Street, from investment manager Patrizia last March for around £18m.  

SimpsonHaugh is the architect for the project. 

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Wow,every time I think construction must be cutting back in Manchester soon some huge new development takes place. I remember when First St was just the Old gas works and Grand Island. Some changes since then!

By Nve

Benidorm in the rain, without the fun.

By She denim

I don’t know much about those renders , but blimey they look absolutely shocking. Certainly no nimby but I would 100% object to those if I lived there. Disgraceful.

By The Squirrel's Nuts

The buildings themselves look very nice in terms of scale and design (at least from the far distance perspectives shown here). However, I am not keen on the whole co-living concept that is being pushed.

By Chris

If the renders are anything to go by, this will be a blight on the skyline. Looks like something from a computer game from 2000.

By NicotineFiend

5 bed apartments?! I don’t doubt the developers know the market better than any keyboard warrior but that does seem extravagant. I’m guessing they will be betting on the considerable Chinese money coming back next year , but good luck to them.

By Simon

Everything about this project is just so so wrong. Putting the bland, disjointed and frankly poor design aside, the idea that this is essentially student housing for adults is disgusting. This is really PRS on steroids. I genuinely hope this business model fails otherwise this are going to spring up all over the place. SimpsonHaugh really have sold their soul to these developers. Such a disappointment.


How is co-living going to work, now that firms will ask everyone – including youngsters – to work from home for at least two days per week? Don’t understand why youngsters wouldn’t just chose one of the new decent BTR schemes?

By The Old Faithful

Wow First St looks so good these days and adding more just shows the level of investment that’s still being made in Manchester. Impressive!

By Manctopia

Another 45 storey in this part of the city centre. Seems almost commonplace now. Bring it on!

By JohnP

So another tower with no lights on at night because Chinese and Russian investors buy up apartments and no one ever lives there, don’t believe me look at the sky line at night!
But unless they stop paying the council fee’s who cares.

By Mike

I too remember the Grand Island gasworks site many years ago.This development is in the right place adding to the designated ‘Skyscraper ally’ around that end of the Mancunian Way. It looks impressive around there now especially if you remember the previous years of dereliction.

By Simon

Manchester and Salford are good at throwing up skyscrapers but the street areas of these towers are pretty grim still. Those ghastly old sheds next to Deansgate Square, and First Street is surrounded by tatty old car parks and dereliction too. The Trinity skyscraper but in Salford is the same. I know that the sheds are businesses but sheds next to Skyscrapers are what you see in Johannesburg. Trees and grass might help rather than gravel and garages. Has anyone in both councils thought of that solution?

By Elephant

But who is going to live in them?

By Liverpool romance

investment on this scale can only improve an area…always more work to do but build it and they will come and they are building it!……

By James

All the completed towers appear to be well occupied when you look up at them at night. The sheds next door to Deansgate Square are to eventually go as part of the Great Jackson Street framework

By Dave

This will be a nice contrast with the Excellent Victoria and Elizabeth Towers being completed not that far away and the Deansgate and Beetham Towers..That’s quite a significant cluster now.

By Marc

This works well in the context of everything else going on around there,especially the Great Jackson St development.

By Visitor

This cant be called progress

By serafini

Co-Living = Future Slum

By Alan's GTX Jacket

excellent to see this progress.!

By New Observer

Really good to see this progress. An awful lot happening in this area now and it’s beginning to bear fruit.

By James Mates

People really cry over nothing. Its like they prefer the dirty wasteland instead of a lively city.

By Bruh

Rainy Manchester? Who keeps spreading that untruth and why? Scientific facts: Average annual rainfall in mm: MANCHESTER 829, Leeds 1024, Glasgow 1124, Munich 967, Milan 920, Turin 981, Naples 1008 (SUNNY Italy!), Amsterdam 838, Brussels 852 and Luxembourg 876. Please, stop putting folk off living and working in DRY Manchester. Ta!

By James Yates

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