10th January 2024

Echo Street project to strengthen Manchester’s status as global destination for education


Our work on Echo Street, a new student residential development that will provide 1,224 high-quality student rooms in Manchester city centre, is all systems go.

Manchester City Council granted a revised planning consent for the 38,350 sq m project – located on the edge of the Whitworth Street conservation area, next to the gateway of Piccadilly and the North Campus of the University of Manchester – in summer 2023.

We were appointed by iQ Student Accommodation to provide civil and structural engineering services to the scheme, including flood risk assessment and mitigation, and drainage expertise. We are now working alongside main contractor Bowmer + Kirkland, who started work to deliver the project in October 2023.

The complex site involves the use of extensive piled foundations constructed as part of a legacy development in 2020. Civic Engineers’ role included the incorporation of these piled foundations into the main works for reuse. This task involved an extensive review of historic construction information to justify the reuse of these foundations.

The project will support the growth of the city and its status as both a local and global choice for prospective students. It will see 1,224 Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) rooms created across three towers, which will vary between 16, 22 and 28 stories.

Alongside student clusters, residents will have access to extensive indoor and outdoor amenity spaces. The communal amenity space at ground floor level will face out onto Vimto Park, and provide residents with an active, social space.

The scheme targets strong sustainability and zero-carbon credentials, continuing to support wider urban regeneration in the Piccadilly neighbourhood. The project is targeting BREEAM ‘Excellent’ and has a fully renewable energy and sustainable drainage systems (SuDs) strategy.

Dan Podesta, associate director in our Manchester studio, said: “Manchester has one of the most vibrant and diverse student communities in Europe, which continues to grow at a rapid pace. Echo Street will respond to significant demand, provide high quality accommodation to attract talented graduates and create a collaborative community that is connected to the wider city. The project has strong sustainability and zero-carbon ambitions, and we look forward to being part of it.”

The Echo Street project is designed by Sheppard Robson, and the wider project team includes Turley as Planning Consultant, Cumming Group as Project Manager and Quantity Surveyor, Waterman as M&E Consultant, and Planit as Landscape Architect.

[Photos courtesy of Sheppard Robson].

Echo Street project to strengthen Manchester’s status as global destination for education