Student and property enthusiast Ed Howe has created an interactive online map showing all projects currently under construction or proposed in and around Manchester city centre, to demonstrate the clusters of development activity. Howe is studying for a master’s degree in city planning at Newcastle University and is originally from Salford. The colour-coded map indicates the locations of proposed buildings, as well as those projects that have been granted planning permission or are under construction. The map also includes transport schemes and MasterPlan areas.
Design and Thought
Howe said: “I think Manchester is pretty special at the moment, as a city we’re starting to attract a lot of investment and cranes are beginning to bounce up onto the skyline once again, constructing skyline-altering schemes. “It can be quite difficult to imagine, or remember, all these different developments and I think my map makes Manchester’s regeneration and property boom accessible to the people who actually live here. They can just go on the map, click one of the pointers and find out what’s happening there. My map also shows how Manchester’s built urban core (city centre) will expand in the coming years. We’ve a lot of development frameworks and masterplans around the edge of the city centre, which is currently derelict or underused land unwelcoming to most people. Hopefully, with some thought into quality of design, these developments will push the urban core out enough to start benefitting the traditionally quite detached inner city areas.
“Clearly most of it is taking place in the city centre, but it’s clear to see clusters forming around St Peter’s Square and Victoria/Piccadilly. Transport nodes are seemingly ‘where it’s at’ in terms of property development, and this can only be a good thing in terms of the city’s overall sustainability. Other clusters have formed around Salford Quays and, interestingly, Ordsall, which I believe will become very active in the next 10 years due to it being sandwiched in between the city centre, Salford Quays and the development areas at Middlewood Locks/Central Salford and Pomona. If there’s anywhere to buy property in the city at the moment, I would put my money on Ordsall.
City Centre Living
“Some people will be astonished at the number of apartments currently being built or proposed across the city. There are currently just over 4,000 apartments under construction across the city centre, Salford, Hulme and Trafford, nearly 2,000 of those are in the city centre and quite a few of them are conversions of the upper floors of older buildings. All the scaffolding you have to walk under around Deansgate/King St area is mainly because they’re working on the upper floors. Other than that it’s large-scale developments like the one at Cambridge Street by Renaker, which is providing 282 new apartments, or Two Greengate in Salford, also by Renaker, providing nearly 500 apartments altogether.
“If we were to count up all the apartments which are either under construction or holding a planning application within a 2.5-mile radius of the Town Hall, so taking in the city centre, Salford Quays, New Islington, Hulme, that number comes to 16,731 new apartments. If we roughly multiply that by number of bedrooms, it’s a population explosion of about 40,000 people into the urban core. That’s going to provide new shops, restaurants and public services which will, in turn, provide thousands more jobs for people in the inner areas. I’m a strong believer that residential projects in the centre of cities are catalytic in terms of regeneration and Manchester is a case study for that.
“There’s also over 1m square feet of office space under construction in the city centre and central Salford at the minute. Again, this will provide lots more jobs although we’re still building far too little office space which is why businesses in central Manchester now pay the highest rents of any other northern city.”