Latest plans for next development phase of First Street revealed

Front elevation of plot 10b

Designs for the next development phase of Manchester’s First Street have been unveiled by Ask Real Estate and Vita Group.

Located on River Street, to the south of Number One First Street and James Grigor Square, the Plot 10 site is one of the last remaining plots in the First Street masterplan. The developers recently shared their early ideas for commercially-led mixed use development on the site as part of an initial stage of consultation.

Alongside building 9a – due to complete in 2024 and house the Government Property Agency’s Manchester Hub – the plans for Plot 10 will see the area around James Grigor Square take shape as another vibrant focal point, continuing the success story of one of Manchester city centre’s most transformational regeneration schemes.

The plans for the site include Ask’s proposals for a next generation sustainable office building and Vita’s innovative House of Social concept, combining high quality, purpose-built student accommodation with a ground floor food hall open to all.

New public space and pedestrian connections around and between these two new buildings will help spread the vibrancy of Tony Wilson Place southwards and open up First Street to more people.

On the eastern half of the site (Plot 10a), Ask’s new office building would provide approximately 215,000 sq ft of sustainable new office space, supporting around 2,000 jobs. Targeting a NABERS 5.5* rating – the highest level of environmental performance in use – this pioneering new building will add to First Street’s cutting edge offer to occupiers.

Jon Matthews Architects’ striking design for the 13-storey building will contribute to the emerging streetscape in this part of First Street, complementing the neighbouring building 9a designed by the same architects.

The eastern part of the site will host Vita’s innovative new student accommodation brand, House of Social. Focused on sharing apartments supported by great social facilities, this brand has been designed to cater to a growing number of students seeking accommodation in the city centre, relieving the pressures this demand currently puts on the local housing stock.

Already an important part of the First Street neighbourhood, Vita’s commitment to quality design and active management is reflected in the existing Vita Student First Street building on Jack Rosenthal Street.

The building on Plot 10b will provide more than 600 student bedspaces within four and six-bed apartments, with a focus on proactive management and building a sense of community.

The building’s ground floor food hall will open on to River Street to the north and east, with a landscaped spill out area for the food hall further activating the street to the east. The food hall is designed to bring the community together with a focus on sustainable local producers and traders.

The elegant design of the building, by Tim Groom Architects, takes inspiration from the historic mill buildings nearby.

At 52m (17 residential storeys), the design steps down from the building on Plot 10a, and is well below the height envisaged for the site in the First Street Strategic Development Framework.

Since Ask and Vita announced their vision for the site in August, the plans for Plot 10 have continued to take shape, taking on board feedback from the local community. Both developers now want to hear people’s views on their updated proposals before submitting a joint planning application by the end of the year.

Plot 10a

This next stage of consultation will be open until Friday, November 11, 2022, and the consultation website ( provides more information about the proposals and how local people can have their say.

Local residents and anyone else with an interest in the proposals are encouraged to attend one of two drop-in events at Vita Student First Street (13 Jack Rosenthal Street, M15 4RB), on Tuesday, November 1, and Thursday, November 3.

John Hughes, managing director of Ask Real Estate, said: “Having listened to feedback from the first stage of consultation, we’re even more confident that this trailblazing new building will not only provide market leading floorspace to bolster First Street’s offer, but also help bring new life to the area around James Grigor Square.”

Max Bielby, chief operating officer for Vita Group, said: “The vibrant mix of uses at First Street makes it the perfect place to launch our new House of Social concept in Manchester. We’ve given careful thought to the design, making sure this elegant building will complement and enhance its surroundings.

“The ground floor food hall will bring new life to this part of First Street and bring the community together.”

He added: “Having been part of the First Street neighbourhood for almost 10 years, we take very seriously our commitment to quality management and being good neighbours, and these values are shared by every member of our in-house team.”

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