On my ambles around Manchester now I’m back on my feet to some extent, I’ve made sure I don’t wander too far from a tram stop should my ankle decide it’s had enough. Either that or get an Uber. But, as things seem to be improving, I thought I’d try a walk into Greengate, across the river from the cathedral and get close to Exchange Court. It’s not finished yet but it’s reached its full height of 130m and is currently the second tallest building in the city after the Hilton Tower. By July/August this summer it’s going to be in fourth place though when the two Owen Street towers surge past it. It’s making quite an impact on the skyline with its gold coloured cladding so I thought I’d get closer. Here it is from Greengate Square just in front of the cathedral.

Its name, Exchange Court, is a nod to the Victorian railway station that used to be in this area. Bits of the viaduct leading into it are still there but the piece you see in this next picture is going to make way for yet more apartment blocks. The change in this area is stunning. Five years ago it was an area of derelict buildings and surface carparks that had been there since the 1960s. Now it’s a thriving, dynamic part of the city boasting the likes of Pep Guardiola (Manchester City’s much lauded manager) among the residents.

Th closer you get the more overwhelming it becomes, towering impressively over the surrounding area.

And it’s having a friend. On the carpark next to it another tower of 110m is just beginning. Actually they are squeezing two buildings on the site, the tall one and a smaller block. It’s going to rise straight out of the river so they are at the point of putting the foundations in and securing the river bank. Something which has been held up by an unknownabout overflow from the river that disappears under where the tower will be.

This is what The Residence will look like when it’s finished. It looks like it’s in splendid isolation but Exchange Court is within metres of it to the right of it. Something to remember if you buy an apartment I suppose.

And there’s another carpark next to The Residence that I imagine the developers are circling around as I post.

The company behind Exchange Tower, Renanker, have a reputation for planning and building whatever they set their minds to. Along with Allied London, they are dramatically changing the skyline of Manchester. They are building the aforementioned Owen Street Towers which we now have to call Deansgate Square I hear. They have just announced ANOTHER tower, provisionally called the Crown Street Tower. It will be 152m tall, 22 metres taller than Exchange Court. It will look like this.

It’s going to be built as part of the Great Jackson Street development as part of the rebuilding of a triangular piece of land hedged in by Chester Road, the Mancunian Way and the River Medlock. It’s already busy with the Owen Street/Deansgate Square towers and three more already have permission to be built. I hear that eventually there will be 25 towers on this site which has, for decades, been surface carparks and cheap storage units. This, below,  is an idea of the site and the massive amount of development that will happen. As you come in from the airport, it will look stunning as a first impression of the city. The buildings won’t all be in the same style, by the way. As each part is built the style will change but the effect will remain dramatic. The Crown Street Tower will be built on the tip of the triangular site (left in top picture) where it will dominate the Chortlton Road roundabout system.

Will all the towers be built? Well, as things are, they will. All the major economic regions of the world are on the up, together, at the moment. In spite of Brexit, the U.K. economy is doing much better than expected. And Manchester is flavour of the month at the moment with local, national and international developers who are pouring money into the city to build. And the buildings aren’t just left empty. As soon as they are finished they are occupied with people who have come to the city to take up jobs with the companies that want to start up here.

Amazon are the latest to join the party looking for a Manchester HQ to complement and support their operations at Manchester Airport and Warrington. The clever money is on that they will take the entire Edwardian Baroque Hanover Building  just off Exchange Square. It’s renovation has nearly finished. Close to Victoria Station and the tram stations, it’s a prestigious building close to others that Amazon would like to occupy to build an entire Amazon campus in the city. 

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