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Oxygen Towers project completes

Russell WBHO hands over 33-storey landmark on budget and on time

Manchester main contractor Russell WBHO has completed the £80m Oxygen Towers project in Ancoats.

The stunning building, which rises to 33 storeys at its highest point, houses 369 one and two bedroom apartments, 12 townhouses, a spa with 25m pool, a fully-equipped gym, spin and yoga studio, cinema room, residents’ lounge, basement car parking and a double height reception.

The team’s biggest ever single build, Oxygen was delivered on time following a 159-week programme, despite the challenges of the last 20 months.

Project director Richard Sumner said the on-time delivery was one of the many things the team should take pride in. He said: “It has been a massive team effort, coordinating with all of the teams and working very closely with the client and architect to achieve our three main aims. We’ve delivered the building safely with no accidents, we’ve realised the design team’s vision, and we have a client who is delighted with the end result.

“We’re particularly pleased to have brought the project in on time, considering recent challenges. We didn’t shut site during the pandemic. We slowed down for a couple of weeks at the start to take stock, put in place new Covid protocols, reworked the programme and replanned, and as a result the project didn’t suffer.”

Construction is by way of in-situ concrete frames with post-tension slabs, pre-cast concrete walls and curtain walling, and a high specification internal fit out. Each of the apartments has full height windows and either a balcony or Juliette balcony, making the most of the views over Manchester and the hills beyond.

Victoria Russell, Property Alliance Group director, said the completed scheme had impressed everyone, especially potential buyers. She said: “Quality of specification has been key for this project, we set the team extremely high standards and we are delighted with the finished product.

“Keeping the programme on track is an impressive achievement from the project team. Its comes down to the skill and commitment of all those involved, working together to ensure the success of the project on every level.

“Oxygen is more than just a place to live. We had a lot of fun designing Oxygen, to create a new home with spaces to support and enhance the city living experience for residents with our engagement and wellbeing initiatives, and we are excited to now build our community and see the building come into its own.”

Built on a triangular 3,966m2 site where Store Street meets Great Ancoats Street, the third elevation is onto the sloped Millbank Street where the change in levels means Tower 1 has two basement floors while Towers 2 and 3 have just one. This slope is also reflected in the stepped design of the building from its highest point of 33 storeys on Great Ancoats Street to the chamfered 11-storey wedge of Tower 3.

This area, where the 12 townhouses are located at street level, is architect Jon Matthews’ favourite part of the finished build. He said: “Its size makes Oxygen undoubtedly a new landmark building for Ancoats, but the closer you get the more it reveals itself with nice little surprises like the brickwork detailing, or the dual aspect views in most of the apartments; all elements to bring life and texture to the building. The developer and contractor have remained true to that design and retained those details which lift the building, allowing us to deliver a piece of architecture that is both uplifting and successfully creates beautiful new homes for the city.

“The Millbank Street side has been specifically designed to create activity, providing natural surveillance and to bring into life a formerly dark back road which no one wanted to walk down. I expect to see kids kicking a ball about out there in the future and families getting to know their neighbours. This engagement, like the glazing along the Store Street elevation which allows people inside and out to interact, is an important part of the way the building gives back and becomes part of the community.”

Alliance City Living is the management and letting team, for further information please visit