Public have been giving feedback on plans for Manchester’s Great Northern

Plans for the redevelopment of the iconic Great Northern Warehouse complex on Deansgate have been open for public consultation this month.

Trilogy Real Estate (Trilogy) and Peterson, the owners of the Great Northern, have this month revealed plans for the redevelopment of the historic Manchester leisure complex for public consultation, due to finish 25th September.

Plans have been developed to bring the Grade II* listed Victorian Warehouse building back to life and to make best use of the 6-acre site. Manchester City Council’s 2017 Strategic Regeneration Framework (SRF), that was updated in 2019, laid out ambitions for this key city centre site to establish it as a ‘cultural, business and residential’ destination, by improving its pedestrian connections to the rest of the city, removing the unsightly 1990s additions of car park ramps and the ‘leisure box’ which houses the cinema, and looked to add medium scale residential buildings at the south of the site.

The proposals include:

  • A redesign of the public square in front of the Warehouse creating a green oasis for the city with spaces designed for work, rest and play.
  • Repurposing of the Warehouse’s upper floors into 130,000-sq-ft of high-quality office space that respects and upgrades the existing architecture and structure
  • Opening new pedestrian routes through the site, improving connectivity to the wider city centre, and creating more spaces for community activity and greenery
  • Retention, refurbishment and access improvements to Deansgate Mews, with space for local independent businesses to flourish
  • Refurbishment and updates to the Deansgate Terrace, with 38,000-sq-ft of offices on the upper floors above retail and leisure
  • Removal of the 1990s ‘Leisure Box’ extension and cinema while retaining much of the existing multistorey carpark to minimise unnecessary wastage and material off site. Significant quantities of the material removed will be recycled offsite.
  • Provision of 750 apartments across two taller buildings and a lower scale podium building, each with shared amenity space, outside terraces and access to green space
  • Retention of the basement car park structure with 950 parking spaces

Previous public consultation exercises have revealed what the local community would like to see from the redevelopment of the site, with more greenery and public space, a vibrant village feel and celebration of the Warehouse’s heritage being named priorities. Since taking ownership of the property in 2015, Trilogy has improved the leisure and hospitality offer at the Great Northern to provide business and community benefits with restaurants and entertainment venues, independent coffee shops, a bakery, sandpit, and family play facilities.

In the past year, Trilogy has further revitalised the complex with further investment in Deansgate Mews, the community library (the Book Nook), a free indoor play facility (Little Northerners) and a Village Hall. These facilities have encouraged new community uses on the site and have supported the growth of independent businesses.

Architects SimpsonHaugh and landscape architect Planit-IE have developed plans which will provide additional public realm by introducing new pedestrian routes through the site between Deansgate and Watson Street; a redesign of the public-facing square in front of the heritage Warehouse building; and an enhanced sense of community with provision of 750 homes and 170,000-sq-ft of office space, which will benefit from ongoing improvement works currently taking place at the neighbouring Deansgate/Castlefield Metrolink entrance, increasing footfall to the complex and its businesses.

Robert Wolstenholme, Founder & CEO of Trilogy Real Estate, said:

"I'm hugely proud of our local team who have worked so hard to get us to the point where we are able talk to the public about the potential for this much-loved site in Central Manchester. Our proposals put community, sustainability and local business at the heart of plans for The Great Northern. We look forward to progressing the scheme to achieve the best outcome for the city."

Trilogy is looking to submit plans to Manchester City Council later in the year.

The project website www.yourviews-thegreatnorthern.com will be updated throughout the planning process, where you can find the latest information and offer feedback digitally.