£400m trio of towers in Manchester reaches new milestone


A £400 million residential development in Manchester has hit a new milestone as construction of the façade gets underway. 

Square Gardens, Manchester.
Square Gardens, Manchester. Credit: Downing.

Metal construction company Focchi Group is about to move on site and begin works at the latest co-living development and neighbourhood in the city, located on First Street. 

The major mixed-use scheme, recently named Square Gardens after Garden Street which previously ran through the middle of the site, is being built and led by Downing Construction, headquartered in Liverpool. 

Downing is a subsidiary of GMD Developments Limited.


Three new tower blocks, comprising 1,772 units, are currently under construction, spanning studios to five-bedroom apartments. 

Square Gardens will also feature one of the largest outdoor spaces connected to residential in the city, including 17,000 sq ft of commercial, leisure and retail space. 

The entire façade, installed by Focchi Group, is being prefabricated off site, limiting waste and speeding up delivery.  

Focchi Group is using glass unitised curtain walling, giving a light reflective quality that responds to different weather conditions and times of day. 


Landscaping will start later this year extending to 9,900 sqm, 5,800 sqm of which will be publicly accessible and have 140 new trees to meet biodiversity and design aspirations.  

First Street, where the development is happening, is currently undergoing regeneration, with Square Gardens the culmination.  

The towers were designed by SimpsonHaugh architects. 

“We are delighted the façade works have started as planned, which we felt was an opportune point to unveil the name of our development, Square Gardens,” said George Tyson, projects director at Downing. “The façade will see the buildings start to take shape as a landmark project right in the heart of Manchester, accentuating the important regeneration of the area.” 

When construction is complete, Downing will also manage the property. 

Completion of Phase One is scheduled for August 2024, with Phase Two due in March 2025. 

Downing suffered an £8.5 million loss last year after settling a claim over defective cladding on three student accommodation schemes, also in Manchester. It recently said it is seeking compensation from insurers to reclaim some of the damages it paid to Unite Students after a cladding subcontractor involved went under.


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