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Latest episode in BBC Manchester saga wins green light

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Manchester City Council has approved the latest phase - designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS) - of the former BBC Oxford Road site 

The Circle Square scheme for developers Bruntwood and Select Property Group will create 10,000m² of shops, cafés, bars and restaurants, 28,400m² of offices, 677 flats, a 1,000-space multi-storey car park and ’much-needed green space’. 

The plans, effectively phase 1B, form the biggest part of the development ’at the heart of Corridor Manchester’ and follow on from phase 1A, a student accommodation block designed by 5Plus Architects which was approved earlier this year and is already on site.

5Plus' Vita towers at Circle Square. Manchester - started on site January 2016

5Plus’ Vita towers at Circle Square. Manchester - started on site January 2016

5Plus Architects’ Vita student towers at Circle Square, Manchester - started on site January 2016

A further two, smaller phases within the masterplan drawn up by FCBS and Planit have yet to go through planning.

The site has had an intriguing history and seen various schemes drawn up by architects including AHR for former site owner Realty Estates in 2014 (pictured bottom).

The new proposals aim to be 60 per cent complete by the end of 2019 with the construction of phase 1B starting in early 2017. 

Chris Oglesby, chief executive at Bruntwood added: ’Our vision was to design a city centre space that will be enjoyed by a rich and diverse set of people and businesses, and we are hugely excited to see how this enhances the innovation district that is Corridor Manchester, as well as the city as a whole.

He added: ’Its potential cannot be underestimated. We have the best transport links in the country and will be sitting among world leading centres of knowledge, science, technology, business, art, music and dance – we believe Circle Square will bring together the kind of people that will achieve extraordinary things in the future.’

Project description

Central to the Circle Square neighbourhood will be two collaborative leisure spaces that enable people and businesses to come together. The Green will be a much needed outdoor space for the city, with a pavilion underneath, offering a wide variety of indoor and outdoor events and restaurants. The surrounding public realm, called The Ribbon, will be brought to life with a diverse mix of shops, cafés, bars and restaurants.

 Closer to the river will be a green street called Medlock Place, smaller in scale and full of character, with trees and shrubs running the length of it, independent shops and an urban high street vibe side by side with innovative rain gardens and relaxing outdoor seating for people to get together.

Facing The Green, two build-to-rent apartment buildings will be delivered and managed under Select’s Affinity Living brand. Designed for a social generation who want to live in city centre locations with access to communal facilities, it will feature a range of indoor and outdoor spaces that can be used by both residents and the general public.

The Oxford Road gateway, architecturally inspired by the grand Victorian warehouses of the area, will act as the main entrance to Circle Square and will comprise two new Grade A office buildings of flexible workspaces where progressive businesses will collaborate to drive innovation and to compete.

AHR's proposals for Oxford Square

AHR’s proposals for Oxford Square

AHR’s earlier proposals for the site, dubbed Oxford Square [October 2014]


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