Mixed-use scheme given go-ahead for Princess Street in Manchester

Developer Urban & Civic has gained planning consent for a new residential and hotel development in the centre of Manchester, designed by SimpsonHaugh and Partners. The landmark project will redevelop a key canal-side site that has lain dormant since the financial crisis in 2008, when a previous development was abandoned with just the foundations and basement car park completed.

Located in the busy Village area of the city centre, the 30,000 square-meter project occupies a 0.45-hectare site on the junction of Whitworth Street and Princess Street within the Whitworth Street Conservation Area. The 14-storey development consists of two apartment buildings to the north of the site containing a total of 238 apartments, plus one hotel building to the south with landscaped public realm in between. All three buildings will have ground floor retail and restaurants, and will sit above the completed underground car park.

Urban & Civic, which acquired the site in 2014, hopes to start construction mid 2016 with estimated completion in 2018.

SimpsonHaugh and Partners’ design is a contemporary reinterpretation of the Victorian and Edwardian warehouse buildings within the conservation area. All three proposed buildings utilise an expressed, glazed terracotta grid that references the tone and colour of the faience, brick and stone of nearby historic buildings. Within this grid, a composition of full-height glazed panels, glass-faced solid panels and ventilation panels is proposed to echo the fenestration of the warehouses.

Each building conforms to the alignment of surrounding frontages onto the streets and the Rochdale Canal. At the upper levels, the blocks are set back to relate to the scale of the eaves and ridgelines of adjacent buildings, creating roof terraces for the upper level apartments. The three new blocks enclose a landscaped public garden, with further public realm created on the waterside.

“Inspired by the surrounding historic buildings, the development will be a beautiful contemporary addition to this vibrant part of Manchester,” said Nick Owen of SimpsonHaugh and Partners. “The facades respond to the visual ‘weight’ of the adjacent stone and masonry to create a respectful yet distinctive design.”