What next for Manchester city centre? A look at some of the biggest plans in the pipeline

What’s next for Manchester city centre?

With so much development happening at the same time, it can be hard to keep up. Here are some of the biggest plans in the pipeline.

Renaissance Hotel, Deansgate

This brutalist behemoth on the border of Salford has been in Manchester Council’s sights for years.

An ambitious redevelopment planned by its previous owners, West Properties, stalled in the economic crash, leaving the town hall to look at other possibilities – including a failed attempt to lure in John Lewis.

Things could finally be about to get moving, however.

The Ramada Renaissance hotel (Image: Manchester Evening News)

New owners Urban & Civic – and their architects Glenn Howells – have laid out plans to replace the building with ‘a composition of new buildings’, including a 5* hotel, shops, flats and a new public square.

Plans are likely to take advantage of the nearby River Irwell and the cathedral, too, complimenting the council’s regeneration plans for the nearby medieval quarter.

Designs have not yet been released for the latest scheme but a planning application is due next year.

More than 400 flats in blocks of up to 24 storeys are earmarked for Dantzic Street

This vast £1bn vision for the area stretching north out of Angel Meadow – a joint venture between the council and investors Far Eastern Consortium – is intended to add 10,000 homes to the city’s housing supply.

So far only a couple of parts of it have been through the planning process, but much more is due over the next few years.

A new 40-storey tower block on the corner of Angel Meadow was the first to be granted permission in August.

Last month a 400-apartment development just down the road on Danztic Street, in the Lower Irk Valley, was approved.

Over time the town hall is intending the entire strip of land stretching up towards Collyhurst to be completely regenerated into a string of new neighbourhoods.

City centre apartments, townhouses and shops are likely to be built on the Central Retail Park site(Image: Manchester Evening News)

This vast, £10bn partnership between the council and Manchester City’s owners is now taking shape.

As the Northern Gateway looks to breathe life into former industrial sites on the city centre fringe towards Collyhurst, so this masterplan intends to develop brownfield land to the north east.

It forms a key part of town hall plans to boost the city’s housing supply, particularly market-rate rentals, with much of the development taking place on land provide by the council.

The first part to be completed – Cotton Field Wharf on New Union Street – went out to let over the summer, with residents now moving in.

A string of other developments, bringing the total new apartments to 1,000, have all also had planning permission.

They include 200 flats at Weavers Quay, between Weybridge Road and New Islington marina, 150 at Sawmill Court on Bengal Street and 200 homes – mostly apartments – at Smith’s Yard on the same road.

This is merely the first phase in a much bigger plan backed by Abu Dhabi United, however, which aims to build a total of 6,000 homes stretching out north east of the city centre towards the Etihad.

In September it emerged Manchester Life had also bought up the dilapidated Central Retail Park for residential development.

Great Jackson Street, Hulme border

Three towers which will be 32, 26, and 18 storeys will be built between Great Jackson Street and Owen Street (Image: SimpsonHaugh & Partners)

At the same time as the city centre creeps out to the north, it is also spreading its wings to the south.

Several huge towers – one of them 64 storeys in height – are already being built at Owen Street, near Deansgate , while developers DeTrafford received permission in September for a cluster of skyscrapers just across the road.

A revised blueprint for the wider area, issued last month by the council, would see a wave of residential development stretch right out to the border with Hulme – including a new ‘ribbon of tall buildings fronting the Mancunian Way’, although not as tall as those around Owen Street.

It outlines plans for ‘high density’ residential development through clusters of apartment blocks containing one, two and three-bed apartments. Several new public spaces would also created, taking advantage of the River Medlock.

Most of the land is owned by property giant Renaker, which is also behind the Owen Street development.

St Michael’s, Jackson’s Row

The 39-storey tower – part of the St Michael’s development – would sit on Jackson’s Row, off Deansgate(Image: The St Michael’s Partnership/Hodder + Partners)

One of Manchester’s most high-profile current planning sagas, various iterations of Gary Neville’s Jackson’s Row development have now been circulating for well over a year.

Original proposals would have seen both the former Bootle Street police station and historic Abercromby pub demolished to make way for a new skyscraper hotel, apartments, offices and public square, but those were pulled earlier this year – after objections from Historic England – and a new architect hired.

Revised designs retain both the pub and the police station facade, as well as moving the proposed skyscraper 90 degrees.

The 39-storey tower has also been redesigned by architect Stephen Hodder, including a new bronze ‘honeycomb’ facade.

A second public event on the development was held over the summer, with the updated plans due to be submitted to Manchester council this month.

Manchester Metropolitan University, Oxford Road

Overhead view of areas Manchester council wants to regenerate in east Manchester, including opening a new university next to the Etihad

MMU’s All Saints and Hulme campuses, on the edge of the city centre, have already undergone a £350m rejuvenation and expansion in recent years as the university has sold off other bits of its land, including in the city centre and Didsbury .

But its masterplan for the next 10 years reveals much more is yet to come.

As well as working with Manchester City on a new sports institute at the Etihad Campus , plus developing a new arts faculty on the Mabel Tylecote site – at the corner of Oxford Road and Cavendish Street – several other key parts of its existing campus could also be redeveloped.

Its estates strategy suggests both the old student union – backing onto the Mancunian Way – and the sprawling 1970s John Dalton buildings opposite could both be knocked down and rebuilt.

Both are directly adjacent to the old BBC site, which is now being redeveloped into the new Circle Square neighbourhood, a mixture of residential and commercial accommodation intended to eventually host new tech-focused companies.

On the John Dalton site, MMU is looking at a brand new science and engineering department in a development of over 10 storeys, while the old union could also be replaced by something of ‘scale’, it says.

Kampus, Piccadilly

While MMU looks to the future, so too does one of its old campuses.

Its former Aytoun Street site is being incorporated into a £200m new neighbourhood called – appropriately enough – Kampus, a canalside development bordering the gay village.

Already under construction, developers Capital and Centric intend it to be a ‘bohemian’ and student-friendly neighbourhood full of 500 apartments, independent shops and bars, as well as inter-linking alleyways and a ‘secret garden’.

Some old buildings, including the former MMU library, are being demolished while the 1960s Aytoun Tower is being refurbished.

Demolition and construction started some time ago, with the first apartments on track for 2019.

London Road Fire Station, Piccadilly

Plans to transform London Road fire station into a boutique 91-room hotel have been approved (Image: Manchester Evening News)

Not so long ago this icon of Edwardian splendour – opposite Piccadilly Station – was gradually rotting away, both its grand exterior and sprawling collection of interior rooms left to crumble.

But a determined campaign by local heritage fans saw it finally saved two years ago and since then, plans for its future have quickly gathered pace.

New owners Allied London had permission granted in July for an ambitious collection of attractions throughout the huge building, including a cinema, boutique hotel, spa, bars, restaurants and flexible living/working spaces.

Extensive restoration work is having to be carried out due to the state of the building, while agreements are drawn up with operators.

But after 20 years of decline, this extraordinary network of stunning inter-connecting spaces, many of them with original features, could be open for public use once again within the next 18 months.

Piccadilly Gardens

How Piccadilly Gardens will look once the wall has gone (Image: UGC MEN)

A long-blighted area at the centre of repeated M.E.N. campaigns, Manchester Council and Legal and General – who now have a long lease on the wall and own a lot of the surrounding properties – unveiled final plans this summer for the overhaul of Piccadilly Gardens.

The application to demolish the concrete wall and replace it with a new wood-topped pavilion of shops and bars was lodged in July, while the town hall has also promised an extended grassy area and more trees.

Work to fix the fountains, after a long spell out of action, has already been completed, while the existing grassy areas have also been re-laid.

The planning application has not yet gone before councillors, but is due to do so in the coming months.

Council chiefs will hope that less concrete, more greenery and millions in investment from L&G will finally help improve the character of Manchester’s most controversial public space.

St John’s, Castlefield

How the St John’s development will look

This vast new neighbourhood is already under construction, due to be complete by 2020.

More than 2,000 apartments – many of them in luxury skyscrapers – are planned for the area around the old Granada Studio’s site near Spinningfields, with the new Factory arts centre at its heart.

Several waves of residential development have already been granted permission, including the 52-storey St John’s Place skyscraper – which will be taller than the Beetham – and two twin 36-storey towers next door, which were approved earlier this year.

Don’t expect them to come cheap, with two-beds fetching over £400,000 at the start of this year and three-beds around £700,000.

When complete, the neighbourhood will stretch right out along the Salford border, which is also seeing massive development in the city next door.

St John’s is intended to become a hub for artistic and cafe culture, focused around the Factory itself.

Granby Row and Vimto Park
Granby Row and Vimto Park (Image: Steve Allen)

Despite its nondescript title, this huge potential residential development is one of the council’s major regeneration targets for the southern side of the city centre around Oxford Road.

At the start of this year it released a broad masterplan for up to 2,500 rental apartments and a further 500 hotel rooms on UMIST’s former Sackville Street campus – including a 21-storey tower block.

It was met with a backlash, however, particularly due to the suggestion part of Vimto Park could be lost, along with a range of 20th Century architecture.

Neighbours also expressed fears of over-development and city centre councillors questioned the lack of apartments intended for sale. In response the council scrapped plans to build on Vimto Park and accepted that certain buildings on the site had the potential to be retained.

It remains to be seen what exact proposals are brought forward by developers.

 

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