The objective of this work is to investigate the challenges encountered in Scale-Resolving Simulations (SRS) of turbulent wake flows driven by spatially-developing coherent structures. SRS of practical interest are expressly intended for efficiently computing such flows by resolving only the most important features of the coherent structures and modelling the remainder as stochastic field. The success of SRS methods depends upon three important factors: i) ability to identify key flow mechanisms responsible for the generation of coherent structures; ii) determine the optimum range of resolution required to adequately capture key elements of coherent structures; and iii) ensure that the modelled part is comprised nearly exclusively of fully-developed stochastic turbulence. This study considers the canonical case of the flow around a circular cylinder to address the aforementioned three key issues. It is first demonstrated using experimental evidence that the vortex-shedding instability and flow-structure development involves four important stages. A series of SRS computations of progressively increasing resolution (decreasing cut-off length) are performed. An a priori basis for locating the origin of the coherent structures development is proposed and examined. The criterion is based on the fact that the coherent structures are generated by the Kelvin–Helmholtz (KH) instability. The most important finding is that the key aspects of coherent structures can be resolved only if the effective computational Reynolds number (based on total viscosity) exceeds the critical value of the KH instability in laminar flows. Finally, a quantitative criterion assessing the nature of the unresolved field based on the strain-rate ratio of mean and unresolved fields is examined. The two proposed conditions and rationale offer a quantitative basis for developing “good practice” guidelines for SRS of complex turbulent wake flows with coherent structures.