Manchester's newest New York style loft apartments - 25 years in the making...

Urban Splash have spent the last quarter of a decade transforming the city's mills.

By Ben Brown | 30 November 2020

Share this story

This is going to make you feel old now, but go back 25 years, and it was only 1995.

It seems like just yesterday that I was running around the streets of Manchester with my mates, sinking beers after a hard day’s graft down the factory. Life was hard in them days for a 10-year-old believe me.

Anyway, 1995 was a red-letter day for the calendar because it marked the year that Urban Splash completed their first ever transformation of an old Victorian Mill in Manchester, renovating Sally’s Yard on Hulme Street, just off Oxford Road.

Sally’s Yard Exterior

Inside Sally’s Yard

It might not seem like much of a revelation now, but at the time – this was something truly monumental, and paved the way for the next two decades of growth within the city centre. At the time you see, as a result of significant decline in manufacturing industries in the city, many former mills had been left to rot – derelict and dangerous.

As a result, many of the city’s streets were more dangerous than they are today, with whole areas of Manchester considered ‘no go’ zones at night.

Areas such as Ancoats, Oxford Road, Blackfriars and down near Victoria were empty and dodgy once the sun went down, while new developments such as Spinningfields, First Street and even the Northern Quarter were just a proverbial twinkle in the hypothetical milkman’s eye.

So for Urban Splash to take one of the city’s old disused mills and completely refit and create modern homes, well, it was something that the north hadn’t seen at the time, and had only really been done successfully in London’s Docklands. They took the bone structure of Sally’s Yard and turned it into a stylish set of homes, paving the way for similar developments in the area.

As a result, over the years we’ve seen almost too many developments and renovations to count. From the good to the bad, the attractive to the downright weird – Urban Splash have been there throughout it all, and they’re still doing it to this very day.

Their latest city centre mill conversion – AVRO on Great Ancoats Street will create 31 new homes, bringing the total number of Urban Splash loft conversions in the city to a whopping 700!

Formerly the home of Manchester aviation firm, A.V.Roe & Co., Urban Splash’s reinterpretation of the just under 200-year old Brownsfield Mill has produced some of Manchester’s largest city centre properties, offering between 829 – 2,600 sq ft of space.

As a Grade II listed mill, AVRO is one of the last few remaining building conversions of its kind in the Ancoats and New Islington area. It offers both modern living space and classic Victorian-era design with a unique proposition for residential living space in Manchester – complete with a private, residents only garden.

Due to popular demand there are only 3 apartments remaining at AVRO, with prices starting at £475,000, so get yourself booked in for a viewing ASAP.


A limited number of loft apartments remain for sale at the Avro Building, priced from £475,000.

For more information, you can watch the new Avro film and sign up for Virtual viewings via the Urban Splash website:

More Information & virtual viewing