Manchester has been the target of huge regeneration and redevelopment in recent years, and its skyline is almost unrecognisable compared with a decade ago.
In a study looking at the skylines that have grown the most over the past 10 years, the city of Manchester was found to have seen the greatest increase at 37% – well ahead of London’s 18%.
Solomon Investment Partners looked at the tallest buildings across seven of the largest cities in the UK to analyse the pace of growth, and look at how many storeys were being added through redevelopment.
While nine tallest buildings were found in London – with the Shard of course topping the charts at 310 metres high – Manchester now has a building in tenth position on the list, namely Deansgate Square South Tower which stands at 201 metres tall.
Acceleration in Manchester
The beacon of the north west, which often competes with Birmingham for the label of the UK’s second city, Manchester has seen a massive amount of investment directed at it in recent years. It also now has one of the strongest property markets in the country in terms of demand.
Many of the buildings that have transformed the city’s skylines have been built or added to over the past few years. Deansgate Square’s arrival in 2018 contributed an additional 622 metres to the skyline from the four buildings, says the report.
It goes on to say: “Residential buildings form the bulk of planned developments for the city, largely positioned around the Deansgate area.
“Trinity Islands is expected to be the biggest of those, should building go ahead, while two 172 metre tall towers named Park Place in Castlefield are also planned for completion in 2026.”
Andrew Ward, managing director at Solomon Investment Partners, adds: “Residential projects in particular are really transforming cityscapes across the country, not just in major cities like Manchester and Birmingham, but in smaller cities and towns like Preston and Hull, which are welcoming major investment.”
Where does London stand?
While Manchester has marked itself out as seeing the most growth across its skyline over the past 10 years, London, in second place, is still home to the tallest buildings in the country. In 2012, the height of its top 20 buildings was 3,575, while today it is 4,222 – an 18% increase.
By contrast, though, residential dwellings do not dominate in the capital. Instead, the largest proportion are office buildings, with the tallest ones being found in the City of Canary Wharf.
The report states: “Of those office buildings, only One Canada Square predates 2010, with The Shard having been the tallest building in London, and the UK, for a decade.
“More recent developments such as 22 Bishopsgate and Landmark Pinnacle have continued London’s rising skyline over the past few years, welcoming that 14% increase in height over the decade, a total of 514 metres added to the top 20 tallest London buildings.”
Like Manchester, London has seen the most significant growth over the last four years. This is thanks to the addition of buildings including 22 Bishopsgate, Landmark Pinnacle and Newfoundland.
There’s also a lot more in the pipeline for the capital. “Several proposed and under construction buildings will enter the top 20 tallest in London over the coming years.
“Consort Place is currently under construction in the Isle of Dogs area of the city and will be 216 metres tall when complete, with a total of 64 floors. That will surpass the likes of One Park Drive, and knock Manchester’s Deansgate Square South Tower outside of the top 10 in the country.”
In third position in the list is the Midlands city of Birmingham. Its top 20 building height has increased by 8% since 2012, from 1,782 metres to 1,928 metres. But there are plans in the offing that could see the skyline change more dramatically.
“To this day, the BT Tower is the most iconic and recognisable tall structure in the city at 139 metres,” says the report. “However, that will all change over the coming years as planning permission continues to be accepted and ground continues to be broken.
“That is expected to significantly increase the 8% rise in the tallest buildings over the previous decade as the city continues to expand.”