The controversial St Michael’s development in Manchester, incorporating a 201-bedroom luxury hotel, is to be amended by Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs.
Widespread opposition to the scheme, comprising two towers clad in anodised bronze of 21 and 31 storeys, has caused the former Manchester United footballers to think again.
Neville announced the decision to revise the plans at the MIPIM property exhibition in Cannes. He said that he still believed in the scale of the project, which he wants to be perfect. “From our point of view there is no doubt that some of the suggestions, made to us during the consultation process, we need to listen to. We need to refine certain aspects of it.”
He went on to say that that the location of the development is currently an underused and dilapidated space in the city centre, which employs just four people and is often blighted by anti-social behaviour. It is his intention that the scheme will transform the 700,000 sq ft space into one that blends old and new harmoniously.
“Manchester deserves a world class development, like St. Michael’s,” continued Neville. “We believe that in a city that aspires to be global, the best of old and best of new can live together, however we are going to make further refinements – it has to be perfect for Manchester.
“Aside from creating 1,500 jobs, St Michael’s will contribute a total GVA (gross value added) in excess of £80m.”
The original plan was submitted to Manchester City Council in January by the St Michael’s Partnership, an international consortium between Jackson’s Row Developments (formed by Neville, Giggs and Brendan Flood), Singapore-based group Rowsley, Beijing Construction and Engineering Group International, and development manager Zerum Consult.
Ken Shuttleworth of Make Architects is set to oversee the design of the development in the Jackson’s Row area, which is to include 159 apartments, two sky bars and restaurants, a synagogue and extensive office, retail and leisure space.
However, from the outset of the plans being made public, there was an outcry from conservationists that the scheme would destroy many historical aspects of the city centre. Key buildings under threat included the Manchester Reform Synagogue and Bootle Street Police Station. Sir Ralph Abercromby pub, believed to be the inspiration for the pub in the BBC’s Life On Mars programme, would also have been demolished.
Historic England and the Twentieth Century Society both voiced their opposition to the scheme.
The hotel within the St Michael’s development is set to be the third in Manchester for Neville and Giggs, who opened the 133-bedroom Hotel Football opposite Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium in February 2015. Work is currently under way on the transformation of the city’s former Stock Exchange building on Norfolk Street into a 35-bedroom boutique hotel.