PAG's One Cathedral Gardens is in line to benefit from £6m. Credit: Virtual Planit

Renaissance residential tower comes forward 

A 27-storey block featuring 300 apartments is the third part of Property Alliance Group and Starwood Capital’s £200m Manchester regeneration project. 

Having already submitted planning applications for the hotel and office elements of the mixed-use scheme, the joint venture has now launched a public consultation on the residential portion of the development. 

Under the proposals, part of Premier House to the east of the site would be demolished to make way for the tower. 

Designed by Jon Matthews Architects, the building would be stepped in height with several rooftop terraces, as well as ground-floor retail units. 

The scheme also features sandstone precast panels that are textured and patterned to reflect the stonework of the nearby Manchester Cathedral. 

An area of public realm next to the River Irwell could provide space for pop-up food and drink vendors as well as outdoor seating. 

Alex Russell, managing director of Alliance, said: “We have worked closely with Manchester City Council, Manchester Cathedral, and Historic England to develop the design of the residential building ensuring it is appropriate for the setting. 

“The residential element will be complemented by extensive public realm, which will significantly enhance Deansgate, creating a much larger and greener space for people to enjoy. A new lift will provide access down to the Irwell riverside, which will feature a new food and beverage offering designed to activate the space.” 

Avison Young is the planning consultant and Planit-IE is the landscape architect. 

The wider scheme 

The JV’s new-build residential tower is just one piece of a three-part plan to revamp the Deansgate site it bought in January. 

The vacant Premier House office building is to be partly demolished and revamped to provide 40,000 sq ft of Grade A office space. 

Meanwhile, the 1970s hotel is to be refurbished and operated by SH Hotels & Resorts under its Treehouse brand. 

The hotel operator is owned by an affiliate of US-based investor Starwood Capital. 

Subject to planning approval, the project could complete by 2023. 

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It’s obviously better than what is currently there but this is painfully bland. Bit of a stretch to say that the panels in any way ‘reflect the stonework of the nearby Manchester Cathedral’, as they don’t.

Why can’t we have a more sympathetic development that reflects the Deansgate Hotel, the beautiful Victorian building that was there before the dross that is Renaissance? Also, if you are to reflect the Cathedral, then why not the same gothic colour and patterns in some form?

Let’s face it: this development could be anywhere in the city and is likely to get such an easy time just because of the derelict location. But this is also a major city thoroughfare and deserves better.

By Robert

These plans are shockingly bad. Inappropriate scale for the area and privatisation of riverside area is backwards move for Manchester.

By John

Hope it looks better than Oxygen Tower which looks very similar. An absolute carbuncle, which looked ok on CGIs but the final building is very poor.

By Derek

This projects only redeeming feature. I really like the design and it’s a lot more iconic than most buildings going up in the city centre at the moment. Glad to hear that there’s extensive public realm too. Hopefully this will continue through to Blackfriar St

By Steve

Strange David and Goliath relationship between the office and the tower, would be better to even them out with two mid rises

By Denizen

This is awful and will dwarf the cathedral.

Why are they messing around with botching this site? Demolish the lot and start again.

By 1981

‘Painfully bland’ ^^^ some people just cannot be pleased.

This looks absolutely excellent.

By The Squirrel's Nuts

Ah, the inward shallow angled elevation & balustraded roofline. Very Deansgate Square-lite. Jon Matthews’ Axis building always puts me in mind of a stray gaudy platform-soled boot left over at the end of an Elton John charity costume sale. The proposed tower is a disappointing threat to an otherwise quite considered sector of the twin city core. Planners should look again.

By Phil Griffin

Have no fear as completely inappropriate as it is for its setting and its proximity to the Cathedral Quarter and the Cathedral itself, it’ll get railroaded through…trusted partners, don’t you know.
I know, let’s have a sweepstake on how may times it will go to committee before its Approved..
I’ll start…two times…no three, alright…I’ll stick with two…

By anonymous

The online consultation materials are weak on the impact on the cathedral. Lots of positives here, but I remain to be convinced on the height and elevation detail (as the similar Axis ended up looking like a 1980s acrylic pullover!)

By Gene Walker

To all those saying to flatten the thing, I suggest you google ’embodied carbon’. We need to be trying to repurpose our existing building stock. Perfect? No. But a great improvement on existing.


More homes for twentysomethings before they move away from the city when they get older and or have children


Looks good. Get it built.


This looks good and is so much better then the awful concrete mess there at the moment. Pity they can’t knock down the whole of premier house but the environmental cost as well as the financial cost would be too much.

By JohnP

I really like it

By Anonymous

I actually like this element. I like others would really prefer the complete demolition of the hotel but ,it’s already been pointed out, the environmental cost!!.I just think ,they could do better with it .

By Robert Fuller

Manchester cannot afford Curvaceous Towers, that much is obvious to most people. This Tower however demonstrates considerable imagination (without any curves) and looks gorgeous. That said, the redevelopment of Century House into offices looks hideously bland, like a Brutalist 1950’s/60’s Courthouse.

By Anthony Fallon

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