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crusader + phoenix

repurposed historic mills with a new residential offer

Capital&Centric’s design-led vision for Crusader demonstrates a progressive approach to creative regeneration, to deliver a unique residential community in the heart of Manchester, alongside the new ten-storey Phoenix building.

The site, part of Manchester’s then thriving textile industry, dates from the late 1840s and included a number of Listed cotton spinning mill buildings. The special architectural interest of Crusader lies in its scale, industrial character and the aesthetic effect of the repetitious bays and windows.

Phoenix, the new-build element of the development comprises an additional 75 new apartments and extends the range of typologies available across the scheme.






  • 126 apartments (Crusader)
  • 75 apartments/10-storey (Phoenix)

Contract value:

  • £15 million (Crusader)
  • £10 million (Phoenix)


  • Complete


Won: 2024 RIBA North West Award and Conservation Award (Crusader)
Won: 2023 Housing Design Award for regeneration (Crusader)
Won: 2021 Resi Award and NW Residential Property Awards (Phoenix)


Inspired by a strong sense of place we wanted to reinstate and celebrate the simple industrial character of the buildings to transform them into 126 high-quality, desirable modern apartments for the private market. Each apartment within the 200 year old mill has its own unique quirks and features, creating a distinctive residential offer within the city, which was offered to locals first to maximise the benefits of creating an owner-occupier community.

a celebration of manchester’s heritage

A sensitive and efficient circulation strategy unites four buildings, three existing and one replacement new build around a central, landscaped community courtyard space.

The existing materiality and character of the mills are retained and celebrated, with existing structure and brick walls exposed. The new build building echoes the design of the existing buildings with concrete soffits and exposed structure. Internally, the character of the existing mill buildings is retained, with exposed brick walls, timber beams, high ceilings and huge windows for light-filled living spaces.

Apartments line the outer facades of each of the mills, with a cloister element introduced to each of the buildings, allowing access from each apartment to the central courtyard. The courtyard is conceived as a lush transitional space: a simple, zen-like contemplative garden which can be personalised and added to over time, to create a space for communal activities and encourages a community spirit. Communal barbecues and WiFi make this an attractive space for multiple uses.

new garden community

Where possible south facing roof terraces have been provided, with a low profile intervention at roof level which allows residents to enjoy fresh air, sunlight and great views out over the city. Scalloped terrace spaces set back to preserve the existing roof line and remain private.

Sliding doors and consistent thresholds allow for a seamless transition and the ability to unite indoor and outdoor spaces.

The transformation of Crusader from a state of disrepair to a stylish, modern residential development is being seen as a key trigger in injecting new energy into the regeneration of the surrounding neighbourhood.


Features of Phoenix include exposed steel and pipe work, contrasted with generous modern, design-led interiors. Apartments have an open plan layout, built in storage and floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies.

The building is constructed of a primary steel frame, precast concrete deck with exposed concrete frame expressed externally across all elevations as a response to the industrial nature of the adjacent buildings. The elevations are topped with a contrasting parapet that conceals large areas of photovoltaics to all areas of roof. Central to the roofscape is the projecting yellow core that rises above the middle of the plan and unites visually with other coloured elements within the courtyard of the existing buildings.


an industrial aesthetic

The environmental design strategy for this new build building includes the provision of a high-performance thermal envelope to limit heat loss and lower the need to heat the spaces. Exposed concrete soffits create an attractive, industrial aesthetic as well as provide thermally efficient spaces. Brickwork is used for its aesthetic as well as its eco-friendly, flexible, cost effective qualities.

The design incorporates a its energy usage reduction through the provision of photovoltaic panels to the roof top. All light fittings use energy efficient LED luminaires to reduce energy use. Lighting to circulation areas is controlled by PIR presence detectors so light fittings are only on when required.


crusader and phoenix provide a choice of lifestyles, balancing heritage with contemporary interventions to create a coherent fusion of old and new, in a vibrant city-centre development