George Leigh Street – Ancoats’ latest desirable residence
A highly distinctive development of stylish apartments combining all the character of a Victorian stone built former school, beautifully enhanced by an adjoining new building in complimentary architecture, Alumni is Ancoats’ latest desirable residence.
Being carried out for the Forshaw Land and Property Group, the project involves the conversion and extension of the historic St Michael’s School on George Leigh Street, within a conservation area, in Ancoats Urban Village.
The scheme comprises 20 beautifully designed one, two and three bedroom apartments, as well as a unique contemporary three-bedroom townhouse on Loom St to the rear of Alumni.
Already over 50 per cent sold off plan, the development has certainly impressed buyers well ahead of completion.
Alumni has two distinct characters, Alumni A, the involving the conversion of the existing Victorian building fronting George Leigh St and Alumni B, a wholly modern addition to the corner of the site fronting both George Leigh St and Cotton St. The two building elements are arranged around a secure central courtyard garden area for residents with electronic access control.
Ancoats has undergone a transformation in recent years. The vast mills that once gave Manchester its nickname of ‘Cottonopolis’ have been converted into desirable modern apartments; new public spaces such as the Cutting Room Square have been created and many previously abandoned buildings have been restored and put back into use.
Overall, the area now benefits from a comprehensive regeneration strategy, providing a successful mix of commercial, leisure, residential and community buildings which have combined to create a unique environment, and a true urban village.
Alumni A, the larger of the two blocks, offers a carefully considered approach to the re-use of the buildings, for example the scale of the original generously proportioned floor-to-ceiling heights has been utilised via the provision of mezzanine decks providing flexible space over living areas. Other key architectural features have also been retained.
Large windows provide plenty of natural light to the generous living spaces, many with views over the city skyline. Ground floor homes have their own front door, either directly off George Leigh St or from the courtyard.
Alumni B provides the best of contemporary apartment living in a purpose-built, modern structure. Spacious and well-appointed with generous floor to ceiling windows in most apartments, the building is a direct contrast to the Victorian conversion but suitably compliments its older neighbour.
Jason Sanderson, development manager at Forshaw Land and Property Group said: “The original three storey building which is undergoing conversion was historically St Michael’s School adjacent to the former St Michaels Church, which is now occupied by the Halle Orchestra. These buildings formed the heart of what became known as ‘Little Italy’ due to the high proportion of Italian immigrants attracted to Ancoats around the turn of the 19th Century.
“Adjoining the former school building, we are constructing a new three storey building which provides eight apartments. The new building features a brick frontage, with brick with stone detailing to compliment the original Victorian buildings, whilst providing a clear contrast between old and new.
“Works to the original three storey building, which was constructed in the 1870s included internal stripping out of the old interior and services, whilst retaining as many of the original features as possible.
“We have maintained the original generous ceiling heights which has allowed us to install mezzanine floors. One apartment was planned as a two bedroom unit, but when we started stripping out the original boarding we discovered a huge ceiling void which allowed us to create a three bedroom duplex. The duplex also has a roof terrace accessed by bi-fold doors off the living area.
“Further works include the installation of new doors and double glazed windows to improve energy efficiency and the installation of new partitioning, electrics and plumbing services throughout. The upper levels of the gables were re-built and the building was also re-roofed.”
The adjoining new building includes a three-bedroom 1,700 sq ft duplex apartment with an 800 sq ft roof terrace.
The scheme also includes the construction of a detached four storey townhouse to the rear of the apartments.
External works include the construction of a garage for four vehicles and the creation of a landscaped courtyard.
Currently the show apartment has been completed, with the overall development due to be finished in July 2017.
“The project is progressing well and on programme and the apartments have already generated considerable interest among potential buyers, with 11 of the units already sold off plan,” concluded Jason Sanderson.
Forshaw Land & Property Group is a privately owned family company founded by brothers Lyndon, Jonathan and Glenn Forshaw.
The company’s activities span the whole of the UK, developing and redeveloping unloved land and forgotten buildings and turning them into the unique spaces for prestige residential, commercial, mixed use and student living.
Formax Construction Ltd
Formax Construction Ltd is a plastering contractor, specialising on refurbishment projects, including mills, warehouses and office fit outs, as well as extension schemes, loft conversions and domestic housing refurbishments. The company started out as a plastering contractor eight years ago, but for the last three years Formax Construction Ltd have been undertaking all aspects of construction from the ground up.
Formax Construction Ltd recently worked with ISG on the fit out of the northwest offices of The Royal institute of British Architects, on Kings Dock in Liverpool. Working on this scheme, the company was subcontracted to construct all studwork, ceilings, plasterboard and more.
Most recently, Formax Construction Ltd have been involved with the work at 32 George Leigh Street. Working on this project, Formax Construction Ltd completed all the plastering works.
Gary Stafford, Formax Construction Ltd, said:
“As there is a shortage of homes being made available to the buyer, I personally feel that any project like this one on George Leigh Street is great –not only for the consumer, but also for the economy. We’re part of the regeneration of housing in this country and this can only be a good thing for all of us.”
“At Formax Construction Ltd we pride ourselves on our ability to provide our clients with nothing but our best results every time, as well as our complete commitment to any project from start to finish. Our slogan is ‘For Maximum results FORMAX’, so we continue to live up to this ethos with everything we do.”