We like the property development company, Allied London. They were the people behind Spinningfields, Manchester’s new, and very successful, business district. They make good plans and they deliver. In spite of their name, a lot of their developments go on in the northern cities of Manchester and Leeds. Spinningfields is almost finished and they are gearing up for their new developments on neighbouring St. John’s and across the city at London Road Fire Station. The city has given permission for two new, almost identical, towers to be built on St. John’s. They are below. Because of the colour of their cladding they are being called the ‘nickel and dime’ towers. They are on another zombie car park between the old Granada Studios campus and the river. They will be full of apartments for rent. Manchester is desperately short of suitable accommodation for people who are moving to the city to work. Both towers will have 36 storeys which takes them over 100m. The glass tower on the left has already been given permission to be built. It will be about the same height as the Hilton Tower, just a shade under the later’s height. All three towers are on underused land where Quay Street crosses the river. It’s a busy route into the city centre and the city has developed a policy of siting statement skyscrapers at such points to get across that Manchester is open for business.
Further along the river, between the Wilburn Basin development and the Water Street Tower are two more zombie car parks by the River Irwell. If you can get your hands on a zombie car park on the edge of city centre Manchester, you’re made these days. Developers circle them like vultures around road kill. These two car parks are crossed by the busy inner ring road, Trinity Way. The area isn’t a place of beauty. They have been branded Trinity Islands and are the next area that Allied London wants to develop. They are planning a vertical village. Three towers, on either side of Trinity Way, will be built out of a podium that will have all the facilities that a village will need; shops, doctors, restaurants, library, school etc. Above will be hundreds of apartments and there will be parks on the rooftops and, if the pictures are to be believed, half way up some of the towers. All the towers will be linked across Trinity Way by bridges so the people won’t have to take their lives into their hands crossing this busy stretch of road.
The development has gone to the city for planning permission. Given Allied London’s track record in the city and this site’s prominent position where you arrive in the city centre from the M62 and M602 from the west, one imagines that it will get it. They will start building in 2019 and it will be up and running by 2022. Two of the towers will have 29 floors and be 94m tall. A third will be 109m, the fourth will be 128m and the fifth will be 155m. But it is the sixth that we are excited about as it will be 219m (67 floors), 50m taller than the Hilton Tower, currently tallest building in the city and 17m taller than the tallest tower currently being built at Owen Street (202m). The developers of Owen Street, Renaker, and Allied London seem to be having a ‘my willy is bigger than your willy’ competition in Manchester.