Airport City contest planned for New Year

Manchester Airports Group said it will publish an invitation to developers to tender for the £650m, 4m sq ft Airport City project early in 2012.

John Atkins, who has been given the new title of director of Airport City, rather than managing director of MAG Developments, said: "Next year will be significant as we look to secure planning permission and bring the project to market. The site already has the potential to deliver a unique product for the North of England and is well served by ground transportation links with developable land assets in close proximity. Our target market is global businesses who are seeking highly connected locations and we must ensure we have a first class product in order to attract them here."

In March this year, the government named the 150 acres of Airport City among its first wave of Enterprise Zones.

Airport City will contain office space, hotel and leisure uses, retail, manufacturing and logistics accommodation.

Atkins added that since March there has been a "substantial amount of enquiries from businesses interested in basing operations at Manchester's Airport City."

Businesses locating within an Enterprise Zone benefit from business rate relief up to £275,000 over five years. Business rate growth within the zone can be shared by local authorities in the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership area for 25 years to support economic priorities.

In August, Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, confirmed its first European Contact Centre would be located at the site with the new centre due to open in 2012, creating around 160 new jobs.

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