Manchester set for three new skyscrapers

Plans for a major new development of residential skyscrapers in Manchester has been unveiled, with a trio of buildings set to stand next to four huge skyscrapers that are already being built.

De Trafford Estates is seeking to construct three tower blocks of 18, 26 and 32 storeys on top of a five-storey podium, as the latest phase of the Great Jackson Street development at the south-western edge of the city centre, near Deansgate Station.

If the project goes ahead, it will provide yet more work for insulation fitters and plumbers in the area, with 400 flats and 50 retirement living homes being provided.

The 1.2 acre site would first need to be cleared, with De Trafford having been in talks with demolition specialists Total Controlled Demolition about clearing the Olympia Trading Estate. This area of the city centre has been gradually cleared for re-use as brownfield land over the last decade, with the work enabling several archaeological digs to take place and uncover a number of Roman artifacts.

Work is currently underway on the Owen Street project, with four buildings of 37, 44, 50 and 64 storeys now being developed after getting planning permission last year. This project will transform the Manchester skyline, with the tallest of the four towers reaching 658 ft, making it the tallest building in the city by over 100 ft. All four skyscrapers will be taller than the CIS Tower, currently the second tallest in the city after spending 43 years from 1962 looking down on all its neighbours.

Like the original cluster of four skyscrapers, the three proposed by De Trafford have been designed by Simpson Haugh architects. Its founder Ian Simpson has been a key driver of the Manchester skyscraper boom, having designed the Beetham Tower, presently the city's tallest tower.

The planning statement said: "The scheme will continue the regeneration of this part of the city centre, which has long been in decline, and will act as a catalyst for the redevelopment of other sites. The site has been shown to be a suitable and sustainable location for new development."

With the Owen Street cluster already providing 1,400 new apartments, the development will add to the massive growth of high-rise, 21st century city centre living in Manchester, a trend that is rapidly accelerating. Insulating such buildings will not involve the kind of cladding seen on older tower blocks, with internal insulation being integrated through the modern design. It will need to be substantial on the higher floors, where colder air temperatures and exposure to wind chill will make the winter evenings very cold outside.

The Owen Street cluster is one of two clusters of four skyscrapers for which planning permission exists in central Manchester. At St John's to the north, the area being massively redeveloped by Allied London includes the Vertical Village development, containing around 1,400 apartments of its own. The tallest building in the cluster, Tower X, will be 699 ft, ensuring that the reign of Owen Street Tower A as Manchester's tallest building lasts just four years.

These clusters are not the whole story of Manchester's rising skyline either. Last month, planning permission was granted for the 40-storey Angel Tower, which will be built on the opposite side of the city centre from Owen Street in the NOMA quarter, a project in which the Co-operative group is partnering with Hong Kong developer Far East Consortium.

It will be the largest of four residential buildings arranged around Angel Meadows Park, and will feature 333 of the 750 apartments being built in the scheme.