London And Manchester In Competiton For UK’s Tallest Buildings

June 5, 2024

For years, London has been the unrivalled home of the UK’s tallest and most visually striking skyscrapers. Iconic structures such as The Shard and nicknamed buildings like the Gherkin, Cheese Grater, and Walkie-Talkie dominate the capital’s skyline, making it instantly recognizable. However, London may soon lose its title as the location of the tallest residential skyscraper in the country.

Currently, The Landmark Pinnacle in Tower Hamlets holds this distinction at 233 meters. But a new proposal aims to build the tallest residential building in Western Europe in Manchester. If approved, this development would rise to 241 meters.

The proposed skyscraper, part of the Viadux 2 scheme, is the brainchild of developer Salboy, co-founded by Fred Done, who established Betfred with his brother Peter. Viadux 2 would be the latest addition to a series of high-rise towers constructed in Manchester over the past decade and would surpass the city’s current tallest building, the south tower at Deansgate Square, which stands at 201 meters.

Salboy is also involved in another prominent Manchester project: the St Michael’s scheme, in collaboration with Gary Neville’s Relentless Developments. This £400m development, which is being completed in two phases, will include office space, a hotel, and luxury apartments. Phase one features the £150m No 1 St Michael’s, offering nine floors of office space and a rooftop restaurant by global brand Chotto Matte. Phase two will include a 41-story tower with a 162-bed, five-star W Hotel, 217 residences, and an additional 75,000 square feet of office space.

Manchester’s skyline has undergone significant transformation in the past decade. Developer Renaker has been a key player, constructing numerous skyscrapers on Great Jackson Street and in Salford, as well as working on the Trinity Islands project next to the River Irwell. The city’s architectural landscape has evolved rapidly since the construction of Beetham Tower in 2006, with recent additions like The Blade, Three60, and Elizabeth Tower.

Historically, landmark skyscrapers outside of London were rare. The 25-story CIS Tower in Manchester, built in the early 1960s, remained a singular landmark until Beetham Tower’s arrival. However, the past few years have seen a surge in skyscraper proposals and constructions. Since 2018, 27 towers have been built in Manchester, with around 20 more under construction and approximately 50 in the planning stages.

Manchester’s skyline has changed almost beyond recognition in the last ten years, and the pace of development shows no signs of slowing down. Developers are keen to continue transforming the city’s architectural profile, making Manchester a notable contender in the race for the UK’s tallest buildings.