Manchester skyline to be transformed

The city of Manchester has seen vast change over the past three decades and this...

The city of Manchester has seen vast change over the past three decades and this trend is set to continue into 2020. Greater Manchester is the third largest metropolitan area in England and has more tall buildings with over 20 stories planned than any other city in Europe other than London.

200,000 extra homes

Manchester has become increasingly popular, not only with property investors but newcomers from elsewhere over recent years, with growth being spurred on by the Government’s commitment to creating a ‘Northern Powerhouse’. The Greater Manchester area is likely to need around 200,000 extra homes in the next 18 years to meet demand, with many high-rise buildings being planned to meet the requirements. 36 new high-rises were proposed in 2018.

Reaching new heights

It’s expected that many of the planned high-rise buildings will be located in the Salford Quays area, home to Media City and a short walk away from Manchester United Football Club. Of all the buildings currently under construction in the area, a new 201-metre tower in Deansgate Square is the tallest. Work on ‘Tower X’ is set to begin shortly and will surpass the Deansgate Square tower, rising to some 213 metres. Many of the new skyscrapers are set to dwarf the existing 169-metre Beetham Tower. Manchester Town Hall – 85 metres at its tallest point – was the city’s tallest building for several decades, though has been eclipsed by a wealth of constructions since.

Taking on the world

The city centre property market has seen an explosion lately, with a large number of luxury flats being constructed. It will be possible to view the new wave of skyscrapers from a wide range of vantage points. The new skyline is set to rival some of the world’s most iconic, including those of Los Angeles, London, Shanghai, Paris, Kuala Lumpur and Dubai.

Trinity Islands and St John’s

The 67-storey Trinity Islands scheme will play host to 1,200 homes divided between six connected towers. This is set to become the tallest residential building in the North West of England. The scheme belongs to a new neighbourhood branded as St. John’s, which is also set to feature a Factory Manchester theatre, a trio of hotels, a reworked Bonded Warehouse and 2,500 apartments in total. These will be located a short distance away from the Old Granada Studios. The 52-storey Tower skyscraper has been inspired by the New York and Chicago of the mid-20th century.

‘Skyscraper Alley’

A new property development on the Mancunian Way has already been nicknamed ‘Skyscraper Alley’. This will include four towers, including a 64-storey block, and will be the tallest building outside the capital before it is leapfrogged by Trinity Islands. Found Space, a 40-storey residential skyscraper and 14-story office block is set to find a home at what was the Bauer Millett showroom close to Deansgate Locks.

Further developments

The 40-storey Meadow Side skyscraper is part of the city’s planned expansion, which will see it inch further to Collyhurst, whilst the new Circle Square redevelopment at the former BBC Oxford Road HQ will include a new 37-storey residential skyscraper targeted towards students based at the nearby universities. Other exciting developments include Angel Gardens near Victoria Station, Nickel and Dime on the Salford-Manchester border and the Chicago-inspired 10-12 Whitworth Street, next to the famous City Road Inn.


With the pace of development increasing in Manchester over the last few years, David Luong, Design Director at Leach Rhodes Walker Ltd, questions how long this can go on for.

“My question with Manchester is how sustainable is all of this development? Do the trends we’re witnessing actually help the housing crisis? An influx in foreign investment has seen floors, and even in some cases whole blocks, in residential developments acquired with the aim of capitalising on the weakness of the pound. When the time comes and the money is withdrawn, what will this mean for the thousands of residential units that we’re churning out?

Perhaps we will see new trends in trying to tackle the lack of affordable housing on offer? There are many interesting questions and the solutions to these issues are sure to define the future landscape of the Manchester property market, as well as that of other major cities across the UK.”


Owen Dearn

Senior Consultant

Owen joined X4 Construction to specialise in placing project managers, site managers and estimators on a permanent basis in the South of the UK. He operates across a range of sectors and works with main contractors, sub-contractors, developers and consultancies...

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