Downing secures approval for new living neighbourhood at Manchester’s First Street

Developer and operator Downing has secured approval from the planning committee of Manchester City Council for its new co-living scheme at Manchester’s First Street, that it will build and ultimately manage.

The developer will build a ‘co-living neighbourhood’ at First Street spread across four residential blocks, including a 45 storey tower, providing more than 2,000 bedrooms split between a mix of accommodation types, ranging from private studios to five-bedroom apartments, as well as more conventional one and two bedroom apartments.

Downing believes the Manchester co-living development will appeal to key-workers, professionals and recent graduates working in Manchester city centre, and aims to start on site in early 2021.

Designed by architects SimpsonHaugh, the four towers will be clad in a striking glazed façade, with three of the blocks set at podium level.

A proposed public square sits within the heart of the scheme and Downing plans to plant more than 140 trees across the site as part of its proposals to create extensive public open space and enhance connectivity through the site towards the city centre.

Amenities on the ground floor will be open to the public and include a 3,000 sq. ft café and 14,000 sq. ft. gym, while extensive podium-level facilities will be reserved for residents. Shared amenities exclusive to residents will include co-working space, a resident’s club house, private dining, reception lounge and a roof terrace offering views over the city.

The proposals offer flexibility for residents in terms of mobility, allowing tenants to select or move from shorter to longer term accommodation options. All living options will include single monthly payments, inclusive of all bills and service costs to make moving in easy and straightforward to residents.

The developer believes that the concept and mix of apartment types will make the Manchester co-living development scheme more affordable and easily accessible to a wider range of people than what is currently available in the city centre.

“We’re delighted to secure the approval from the Council to deliver our vision for First Street, to create a new resident-led living space that will successfully complement the area’s existing blend of cultural, leisure, retail and office space. We’re especially grateful to the hard work of the wider Downing team and the Council’s officers, who have worked with us uninterrupted during the COVID lockdown period.

“We believe our plans will add to the diversity and vibrancy of the working and residential community already based in and around First Street and act as a catalyst for future phases of regeneration in the area, including the Oxford Road Corridor, by providing the highest quality residential space that will support the attraction and retention of talented workers vital for the growth of the city.

“As an experienced residential developer and landlord, Downing has responded to the growing demand for affordable, flexible and experience-led living. There is much focus on the ‘co’ aspect of ‘co-living’, and the innovations in design and management will help create the community that is so often lacking in city centre residential developments. However, the primary focus we have is on the ‘living’ aspect of the scheme, offering our residents a well- managed, affordable home in the heart of the city centre, of the highest quality, surrounded by like-minded individuals and providing access to a wide range of cultural, leisure and entertainment facilities.

Having just opened what has been described as the best student accommodation scheme in Manchester, at River Street Tower, this consent at First Street will enable us to continue our significant contribution to the regeneration of this key part of the city centre.”

George Tyson

Project Director at Downing