Plans for the reinvention of the iconic Great Northern Warehouse have been given the green light by Manchester City Council.

The proposal will see the historic six-acre site transformed into a new heritage-led neighbourhood, including 1.5m sq ft of office, leisure, retail and residential space. Plans also include new high-quality green spaces with better public access connections to the wider city centre.

Plans aim to restore the building restored to its original splendour, and include the removal of 1990s ‘leisure box’ which currently houses the cinema, car park and gym.

A new glazed atrium will be formed in the centre of the Warehouse to bring natural light into floors, with office space arranged around both this and the character-rich brick walls and vaulted ceilings. A commitment to sustainable design and energy saving will be demonstrated by upgrading the thermal performance of the warehouse and a targeted BREEAM Excellent standard, rare for listed buildings of its kind. Extensive amenity and a range of carefully landscaped outdoor spaces will provide dedicated wellness provisions for staff.

Deansgate Terrace will be restored and refreshed to provide 30,000 sq ft of flexible commercial space within the upper levels. A new pedestrian street, to be named Dean Street, will be created between the Warehouse and Deansgate Terrace.

Deansgate Mews, which currently houses favourites like Another Hand, Lion’s Den and Siam Smiles, will be retained with improved access, affordable space for local indie businesses and continued facilities for community use.

The Leisure Box site will be redeveloped into three residential buildings comprising 746 apartments, with a mix of 1, 2, and 3-bedroom homes. Two taller buildings of 27 and 34 storeys will rise above a 2-storey podium building.

The new residential buildings are detailed to complement tthe red brick tones and grid-like façades of the site’s heritage buildings. The homes benefit from access to internal amenity space, outside terraces and green space. On the roof of the podium building, a 2,000 sq m shared private courtyard will provide protected, sheltered spaces for residents to meet, socialise and relax.

Great Northern Square, which sits at the front of the Warehouse, will be transformed into a ‘welcoming green oasis’ providing biodiverse amenity space for residents, workers, visitors and families to meet, relax and play. This space will be re-landscaped to make it more accessible and welcoming. The square will provide a focus for the new pedestrian routes created through the development and will accommodate informal events and other activations. A sandpit–which has proven to be popular with families since its arrival–will return as a free play facility in the city centre.

An additional new pedestrian route–named Alport Street, in recognition of the Alport Town district historically located on the site–will be introduced to connect Deansgate and Watson Street; improving connection routes through the site and improving links to the neighbouring new Deansgate/Castlefield Metrolink entrance. 45% of the site will public realm, with the amount of public space on the site increasing from 8,660 sq m to 12,000 sq m. Green space on the site will double to 883 sq m thanks to improvements to Great Northern Square, which will become a ‘biodiverse oasis in the heart of Manchester.’

Work is expected to begin as early as next year.

Mon 20 Feb, Great Northern Warehouse,
235 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4EN
Bradley Lengden
Published on:
Mon 20 Feb 2023