Jonathan Schofield and the movement up for the city centre skyline
Onwards and upwards. The cluster is filling up nicely. The Manchester city centre site bordered by the Mancunian Way, Chester Road, the River Medlock and Medlock Street, already has seven towers, now it looks like two more giants are on the way.
These come from Great Jackson Street Estates Ltd and will both be 56 storeys high. In height that will be around 172m (564ft), so marginally taller than Beetham Tower but lower than Deansgate Square’s South Tower which is 204m (659ft) high.
The cluster already in place shows the wisdom of such simplicity in design
More vertiginous city-centre apartments
The towers will contain 1037 apartments of one, two and three beds with double-height entrances and of course, the usual communal amenity areas. There will be some commercial units and the largest apartments would be placed on the corners of the buildings to give dual aspect views. It will be a case of "on your bike" as well with 236 car parking spaces but 1040 cycle spaces.
The architects are Hodder+Partners and the design for the buildings look simple and sharp in profile with a rosy hue to the colouring, but with a light touch, unlike the so-called "Tombstone" planned for the Macintosh Village half a mile away.
The cluster already in place shows the wisdom of such simplicity in design. The Simpson Haugh designed Deansgate Square towers, Elizabeth tower and Victoria tower have a dignity aided by the clarity of their shape that eludes the God-awful mess of towers in say the City of London. If in part cost considerations and relative land values dictate this simplicity then Manchester is lucky.
Are new skyscrapers a bad thing for Manchester?
Of course, some commentators have taken against tall towers and shout about the need for more social and affordable housing in the city centre. However, the present brownfield site of crumby commercial sheds is 100m distant from Hulme over the Mancunian Way. According to Zoopla the current average price for property over on that side is £190K - £210K.
The situation in Manchester city centre is in no way comparable to some cities across Europe and the globe in being a wealthy ghetto. To say it is becoming so is foolish and bears no scrutiny.
Of course, the developers here need to pay an adequate Section 106 contribution under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. The most common S106 obligations include monies from the developer going to public open space, affordable housing, education, health etc. That needs to be monitored but overall these new towers should provide an added boost for Manchester’s developing and exciting skyline.
Follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter @JonathSchofield
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