Plot C

For more than a decade a singular giant pin has pierced the life-size map of Manchester: the Beetham Tower, marking Deansgate’s south end and visible city-wide, guiding drivers better than sat-nav. Now two unfinished towers loom alongside:


This view is from Hulme Park near the Zion Centre on Stretford Road.

From here, you can cycle directly towards the towers across parkland… towards the Mancunian Way. There’s a footbridge, although the traffic roar and fumes are overwhelming…



And on the other side is an industrial estate, south of St George’s roundabout.


Vast stockpiles of building materials lie fenced off among low-rise industrial units, car parks, and apartment buildings towards First Street… everything dwarfed by the mammoth towers and their attendant cranes.




These towers are a residential development by SimpsonHaugh and Renaker, called the Owen Street Project, in conjunction with Greater Manchester Housing Fund:


I pity the poor people living in the apartments next to this massive building site. Did they know this was going to happen? Were they consulted?

One apartment block has the towers on one side and this dusty demolition on the other:


And then round the corner, there are the beginnings of yet another tower:


It turns out there will be four towers eventually – and the South Tower will be 64 storeys high! The development has been renamed Deansgate Square, although the signage still states “Owen Street Project”…

The history is all here on the internet:

Meanwhile, the Evening News reported 6 months ago that 25 towers could be built in the Great Jackson Street area, providing around 6,300 new homes:


But I haven’t heard anyone discussing this development, even though we can all plainly see it! Meanwhile people have been up in arms about the (as yet unrealised) Neville Brothers’ ambitions in Stretford and the city centre!

I hope Manchester City Council doesn’t rush all these schemes through without first demonstrating that people actually want to live in sky scrapers like these… it’s quite hard to imagine that they will after the London Grenfell Tower disaster, even though these new towers by Ian Simpson’s company are beautifully glazed rather than sub-standardly clad.

Remember Wilson & Womersley, Manchester City Council? You put too much trust in that design partnership and look where it got you? Don’t make the same mistake all over again.


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1 Comment

  1. Hello Ursula,

    Very interesting article. It seems as if the City centre is in a constant state of flux. ‘All that is solid melts into air’.

    Did you ever work backwards from these towers towards the Simpson designed Urbis centre & then go with the flow. Sites of key events in the recent history of Manchester seem to be connected by alignment!

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