VIDEO | The Depot is a showcase of Manchester regeneration
For 100 years, the corner of Bowes Street and Princess Road in Moss Side was home to a large bus depot. Today, it is The Depot – a more than 300-home neighbourhood offering a mixture of tenures suited for everyone from first-time buyers to families to seniors in need of care.
Place went to learn more about the transformation. We spoke with those behind The Depot – Rowlinson Construction, Mosscare St Vincent’s Housing Group, and RISE Homes – to get an insider’s look at how the project came about.
Stagecoach left its bus depot on Princess Road in 2011, moving its operations to a new depot near Wythenshawe. That left five acres on the border of Moss Side and Whalley Range ripe for redevelopment. The opportunity presented by this well-connected real estate, with easy transport links to the city centre and opposite Alexandra Park, was not missed by Manchester City Council.
The local authority purchased the land and then recruited Rowlinson Construction, market housing developer RISE Homes, and housing association Mosscare St Vincent’s Housing Group to deliver a mixture of flats, houses, and extra-care apartments. Plans were submitted in 2016, with construction starting in 2019.
Construction was not easy, with Rowlinson managing director David Chilton recalling the challenges the contractor faced: the Covid-19 pandemic, struggles with material acquisitions because of Brexit, the current cost-of-living and energy crisis, and inflation.
“That has been a real challenge,” Chilton said. “But I think with the determination and the tenacity and the support that [Rowlinson, MSV, and RISE] have given each other as partners, we’ve been able to deliver – which is absolutely fantastic.”
The idea behind The Depot was to create an intergenerational community. Accordingly, it includes 112 apartments geared towards those who are aged 55 and older. For those who are fully independent, the flats at Bowes House offer apartments designed with them in mind.
Buttress Architects used HAPPI principles when designing the one- and two-bedroom apartments at Bowes House. This included ensuring that layouts are accessible, an ample provision of internal space, and access to the outdoors via private balconies or communal gardens.
For those who may be in need of more assistance, there is Elmswood Park, a 72-flat extra care scheme that is 100% social rent. Amenities at Elmswood Park include a bistro, hairdresser, and communal spaces.
Those just starting their home ownership journey can access one of The Depot’s 30 shared-ownership family homes.
There are also market and affordable apartments for those who require less space. There are even five flats devoted to “step-down care”, which is geared toward those who no longer need to be in the hospital but still require some assistance. This frees up much-needed hospital beds in the NHS system.