Competition for £1.5bn ID Manchester narrows to four

The University of Manchester has shortened its longlist of potential development and investment partners for the £1.5bn ID Manchester innovation district to four bidders, including Bruntwood SciTech and Peel.

The scheme would see the redevelopment of the university’s North Campus, formerly the Umist site, into a science and research campus, delivered over the course of 15 years.

The remaining four bidders in the race are understood to be:

  • Bruntwood SciTech with London-based investor and developer Stanhope
  • Peel and Urban Splash
  • HBD, formerly Henry Boot Developments
  • Singapore-based investor Mapletree

The longlist, revealed by Place North West in November, included a partnership between BCEGI and Chinese firm Tuspark, which withdrew from the competition before Christmas. Muse Developments was also on the longlist and has not progressed, with some speculating this was due to its recent success as winner of the £800m Salford Crescent development contest.

ID Manchester will include 4m sq ft of mixed-use space including large areas of public realm. The focus will be on attracting science, research, development, cultural, and tech companies, along with some residential development; overall, there is expected to be 2.6m sq ft of offices and work space.

A partner was due to be chosen by autumn 2020, however due to the coronavirus outbreak, ID Manchester has announced the process would now be paused and the timetable reviewed again in eight weeks.

Once a development partner is selected, the JV between the developer and university will draw up a fresh masterplan for the site, secure planning, carry out all site-wide infrastructure works, build the site out, attract tenants, and hold the site as a long-term investment asset once it completes. This process is expected to take 15 years.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Manchester, said: “Clearly, it makes sense to pause the procurement process as we all adapt to the unprecedented circumstances caused by the coronavirus outbreak, but we remain committed to this project and I still truly believe we can make ID Manchester the innovation capital of Europe, providing the perfect conditions for organisations of all sizes and from different sectors, to share knowledge and work together turning incredible ideas into reality.”

Diana Hampson, director of estates and facilities at the University of Manchester said: “This is more than a property transaction. ID Manchester will create a new, world-class innovation district situated in the heart of Manchester and alongside the University. Although we are pausing the procurement process in response to current circumstances, we look forward to resuming detailed dialogue with the selected bidders (perhaps using some alternatives to face-to-face meetings) in order to advance this exciting project.”

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