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‘Worker Bee’ Mural Completes Sold Out Ancoats Development

Nearly 120 years after its iconic row of red brick terraced houses were constructed, George Leigh Street in Ancoats, Manchester, has welcomed a 21st century equivalent.

Fourteen new ‘back-to-back’ style four bedroom terraced properties have been completed by Hillcrest Homes, the luxury homebuilding arm of Manchester based property company, Nikal.

The new arrivals have been designed by Calderpeel Architects and are also constructed in red brick with slate roofs but offer a more contemporary style of architecture with open plan living spaces, a private double garage and a first floor garden deck.

Delivering 1,496 sq ft of living accommodation, the newcomers are also considerably bigger than their Victorian counterparts but respond to a similar demand for high quality family homes in the town centre; demand that resulted in all properties being sold off plan in just twelve weeks.

Called ‘Residenza’, the development pays homage to the area’s popularity with Italian immigrants who worked in the booming cotton industry during the Industrial Revolution – in fact it’s known as ‘Little Italy’ and is still home to a proud Italian community.

With new residents now moving in Hillcrest’s development is a further embellishment on Ancoats’ rich architectural tapestry and in honour of it’s role as ‘hive’ to the city’s many Victorian workers, Residenza has been given a new bee-inspired mural designed by local street artist Russ Meehan.

The mural adorns the entrance to the properties’ private garages and depicts some of the most distinctive buildings in the city’s skyline along with the famous Manchester ‘worker bee’. The artwork was commissioned by Hillcrest and partners Brookfinch Developments and was overseen by Calderpeel Architects.

Said Hillcrest Homes Managing Director, Michael Kennedy, “The properties on George Leigh Street are a beautifully preserved snapshot into Manchester’s social and architectural history. When building speculatively, there is a temptation to play it safe and many would have responded to the site by erecting a block of apartments, getting maximum return on their investment in the process. We felt the street, and its community, deserved a more sympathetic scheme.

“Working closely with Calderpeel Architects, we went for quality over quantity and proved that family homes can work in the city centre and are highly desirable. We’re immensely proud of this development and hope, in 100 years time, Mancunians will look at Residenza and feel the same,” he added.

Ewen Miller, Managing Director of Calderpeel Architects, said: “Our design has provided an innovative solution to make the most of this unique site. The completed development looks stunning and offers a highly desirable, modern residential scheme that’s in keeping with the historic nature of Ancoats.”

On designing the bee mural, Russ Meehan also known as Qubeck, said: “I took inspiration from a number of iconic buildings in the area, mainly the Holloway Orchestra and the different mills, giving the mural an edgy silhouette. Ancoats relaxed art culture encouraged me to spray freehand, no templates or sketches, the creative process just happened there and then.”