Civic&Urban releases plans for Manchester Gay Village site

Daniel Wren

After campaigning by local interest groups and a renewed interest in the area by developers, the new plans for the empty site opposite G-A-Y in Manchester have been released.

This morning, Urban&Civic announced its revised plans for the old Origins site, which is located on the corner of Princess Street and Whitworth Street in Manchester city centre, overlooking Canal Street and several residential properties.

Although the site was purchased last year with planning permission for the original Origins proposal, which would have included offices, apartments and a hotel, Urban&Civic has updated its plans ostensibly to reflect the interests of the local community.

The foundations of the three building blocks and four-level basement car park were constructed prior to the recession, but the new proposals alter the initial plans – with two buildings featuring around 240 apartments, a four-star hotel, ground floor retail and restaurant units that hope to draw independent retailers, a landscaped public square and a 300-space basement car park.

Inspired by the traditional architecture of the Whitworth Street Conservation Area, which is marked by red brick, terracotta and sandstone, the plans include expressed glazed terracotta grids on the facades of each building, inspired by the glazed ceramic (or ‘faience’) used on the historic buildings on Whitworth Street and Princess Street. The plans will also take into account the street and canal frontages, with the upper sections of the buildings set back at heights related to the eaves and ridgelines of the nearby buildings – thereby minimising shade for neighbours.

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The proposals are reminiscent of the redevelopment around HOME, a new multi-purpose complex with a theatre, arts spaces, hotel and offices, located further down the road from the old Origins site.

Of the plans, Development Manager for Urban&Civic Andrew Lavin said: ‘Our reworked scheme comprises a high quality, mixed-use development consisting of three buildings sitting over the existing four-level basement car park. Our vision is to create a vibrant development that complements and enhances the historic context and sensitively reconnects the site to its surroundings.

‘We believe the introduction of retail and restaurant units on the ground floor level showcasing some of the City’s finest and most eclectic artisans along with a landscaped public square will help reinvigorate and re-energise this part of the City.’

More information about the development can be found at

About Daniel Wren

Vada Magazine staff writer. Interested in travel, news, politics and dating.