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Our Origins

Manchester was the world’s first industrial 
city, and Ancoats was its beating heart.

By the 1960s, the industrial era ended, and Ancoats’ textile industry was almost gone.

During the 1990s, Ancoats was associated with population decline, property dereliction, crime and anti-social behaviour. 

Despite being a conservation area, by 1998, Historic England had placed six Grade II* listed mills on its Heritage at Risk report.

The City Council had identified Ancoats as a priority area for intervention.


Live, work and play

History, canals, a tight street grid and beautiful mills guided regeneration frameworks to establish a unique community where people want to live, work and play.

Over the next decade, local and national agencies and several developers enabled and progressed individual developments within the area. However, critical mass never took hold, with momentum and investor confidence lost because of the 2008 financial crisis. Planning consents were obtained and never implemented, and schemes stalled after works had started on site.

As Manchester’s economy began to recover, there was a critical need for new residential communities within the city centre to fulfil housing demand and intervention to return confidence to Ancoats.

This led to the 2014 formation of Manchester Life Development Company, a joint venture between Manchester City Council and Acre Real Estate Investment and Development LLC.


Our mission

Our mission was to deploy the scale of investment, development, placemaking and coordination required to restart and sustain regeneration efforts.

An initial priority, which remains today, was to create confidence and a platform for other investors, developers, cultural organisations, and community groups to participate in Ancoats’ resurgence as a thriving community on the edge of the city centre.

Coordinated development, public space improvements, community activities and neighbourhood safety measures helped Ancoats emerge as one of the most liveable urban neighbourhoods in the country within five years.

Significant decisions such as restricting sales of homes in historic mills to owner-occupiers only, offering three-year tenancies in our rental homes and creating active streets have helped a new community put down roots.

The first two phases of Manchester Life have delivered 1,500 homes across seven new developments and two historic mill conversions. Over 3,000 new residents have been welcomed to the area, with Manchester Life Management Limited managing our rental homes.


Made by us, 
shaped by you

Over 30,000 ft2 of commercial space has been provided within our developments to establish a thriving neighbourhood economy, which now hosts some of Manchester’s most successful home-grown businesses.

The most crucial measure of success is the confidence that has returned to the neighbourhood and the vibrant community and local businesses that now bring Ancoats to life.

It’s a neighbourhood transformed in less than a decade.

The next phase of regeneration and development is now starting, to provide enhanced public realm including green spaces, a range of housing requirements and deliver the Ancoats Mobility Hub to embed sustainable transport choices and last-mile delivery into the neighbourhood.

Timeline of Developments

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