UK soccer stars' plan for Manchester hotel stirs controversy

(Manchester Plan)

A plan to build two skyscrapers in the middle of Manchester is generating some controversy in the UK. 

The £200-million development from English football (soccer) stars Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs would be "the biggest statement in architecture" the city has seen in modern times. The St. Michael's development--formerly known as Jackson's Row—includes two skyscrapers, a luxury hotel and a split-level public plaza. The project was designed by Make Architects. 

But as the plan involves demolishing three historic buildings and affects a number of grade-listed properties, local authorities are voicing concern. Government heritage agency Historic England said it has worked closely with Manchester City Council and the developer. "The proposed plans as they currently stand remain of great concern to us and we think that the scale and form of the plans would cause a high level of harm to both the conservation area and the setting of the nationally important civic buildings of the Town Hall and library."

According to the project website, St. Michael’s is being created by an international consortium comprising The Jackson’s Row Development Partnership, Rowsley Ltd., Beijing Construction & Engineering Group  and Manchester City Council.

"The Jackson’s Row Development Partnership has been created by Brendan Flood and internationally acclaimed footballers Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, and each have worked together previously to deliver high-profile developments in the city, including Hotel Football.

"Singapore-based Rowsley Ltd, invested in by Peter Lim, will own a majority share in St. Michael’s, with BCEG, the Chinese state-owned company delivering the £800-million Airport City Manchester project, being responsible for the development’s construction."