Beetham Tower, Manchester

The Beetham Tower is a landmark 47-storey skyscraper in Manchester city centre, England. Built in 2007, it is named after the developers, Beetham Organization, was designed by Ian Simpson and was built by Carillion. It is the tallest building in Manchester by a significant margin. It consists of a Hilton Hotel up to level 23 and apartments from level 25 up to the triplex penthouse on level 47. There are also 2 basement levels, which contain car parking for the residents of the apartments. The tower lies on Deansgate and has two postal addresses, with the apartments falling under 301 Deansgate and the hotel under 303 Deansgate. Widely referred to as Beetham Tower, it is also known colloquially as the Hilton Tower thanks to the corporate logos placed on the 24th storey plant floor on each side of the building.

Located along Deansgate at the junction with Great Bridgewater Street and Liverpool Road, it has 47 floors and is 168.87 metres (554 ft) in height, making it the tallest building in the UK outside London, the UK's 7th tallest building and the tallest residential development in Europe. It is the tallest building in Manchester, having overtaken the CIS Tower. In comparison, the UK's tallest building, One Canada Square, is 235 metres (771 ft) tall. The tower contains a five-star 285 bedroom Hilton Hotel for the first 22 floors. The 23rd floor is deeper than those below by 4m, and has two glass windows in the floor, offering views down to the ground from the skybar Cloud 23, which is the only skybar in Manchester. The floor also has a bar and lounge, both operated by Hilton. From the 25th to 47th floors, the tower is occupied by residential apartments. As part of the project, a 12-storey office block is due to be constructed adjacent to the tower, with 6,506 square metres of floor space. The hotel also has a 4-storey annex, containing a swimming pool, ballroom, conference rooms and coffee shop. The architect, Ian Simpson, bought and resides in the top floor penthouse, which is the highest living space in Britain. It cost him £3 million. It occupies the top two storeys of the building and features a semi-indoors garden containing 21 four-metre high olive, lemon and oak trees shipped from Italy and craned into the building before the roof was built. The tower offers views of the set of Coronation Street and on a clear day, it is also possible to see Liverpool, the mountains of Snowdonia, the Pennines mountain range, the Peak District, Liverpool Cathedral, Blackpool Tower, much of the Cheshire Plain and the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory. The tower can be seen from many towns around the area including: Bolton, Hyde, Bredbury, Oldham, Ashton-under-Lyne, Wythenshawe and many more.

The site was originally occupied by a redundant section of railway viaduct. Planning permission for the development was given in October 2003, at which point 206 of the 219 apartments had already been sold, as well as 4 of the 16 penthouses. The viaduct was demolished in March 2004, and the twin cores of the building were above ground level at the end of August 2004. One of the two cores reached a height of 125 m at the end of July 2005, at which point the building became the tallest UK skyscraper outside of London. The Beetham Hilton Tower was built entirely using post-tensioned flat slab concrete construction and was the first building in the UK to use the Doka SKE 100 automatic climbing system and trapezoidal windshield. The tower had its official "topping-out" ceremony on 26 April 2006. Due to local wind conditions, the building's height had to be reduced by just over 2 metres from its originally planned height of 171 m (561 ft). The hotel opened and received its first guests on 9 October 2006 with the first apartment residents moving in during 2007. In total, the building cost £150 million to construct.

During the installation of the glass and steel 'blade' architectural feature on the roof, a strange noise problem emerged. People reported that the building "whistles" (more like an intermittent hum) in windy weather. The sound is close to standard musical C (approximately 262 Hertz); some say it is like a " UFO landing" in sci-fi films. The noise also affected the production of local soap opera, Coronation Street with producers having to create extra background noise as the tower is close to the show's set. Despite apparently rectifying the problem, the humming sound can still be heard on occasion in the area, depending on wind direction. Additionally, many residents of districts close to the city centre, including the Hulme area of Manchester, report a significant loss of television reception following construction of the tower. Effects have been reported as far away as Whalley Range. On the 11th September 2008, a piece of glass had a fault and cracked, the street below was cordoned off for several hours until the matter was resolved. There are reports the project is commercially suffering due to the UK's 2008 housing market slowdown. One newspaper report states that (as of September 2008) 55 of 219 apartments are waiting to be let and a further 30 waiting to be sold.

During the early hours of 29 January 2009 a fire broke out on the 31st floor. A partial evacuation of the complex took place and the fire was brought under control within one hour. Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service are yet to produce a final investigation report into the cause of the blaze, which left one apartment uninhabitable.

Famous residents

  • Ian Simpson 47th Floor Penthouse
  • Shayne Ward Apartment
  • Phil Neville Triplex Apartment beneath the top floor penthouse.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo Apartment facing Old Trafford
  • Manchester United captain Gary Neville quickly followed his brother in purchasing a suite in the tower.


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