Central Retail Park MCC p.MCC

The sale relates to the western portion of the site, next to the Rochdale Canal. Credit: via MCC

Govt buys five acres at former Central Retail Park

The land deal prepares the way for the Government Property Agency to build its 800,000 sq ft Manchester Digital Campus, with construction set to begin in 2026.

Contracts between GPA and landowner Manchester City Council have been exchanged, with the deal for the five acres at the former Central Retail Park in Ancoats on track to complete next year. A price was not disclosed. Gowling WLG acted for GPA on the deal.

The Manchester Digital Campus is to become the hub for 7,000 government employees. A planning application for the campus is due this summer.

Parliamentary secretary for the Cabinet Office, Alex Burghart, said: “This latest expansion in Manchester not only represents our ongoing commitment to investing in digital excellence, but also signifies our dedication to contributing positively to the city’s vibrant community and economy.

Burghart continued: “We are excited to create more modern and productive work environments in the heart of the city, where civil servants from across the North West can be inspired and take pride in delivering the best possible service to the taxpayer.”

Manchester City Council Leader Cllr Bev Craig described the GPA deal as representing a “significant investment that will complement the wider regeneration story” of the city centre.

“We have worked closely with the GPA to unlock the potential of the former retail site through this development, which will sit aside a new public green space delivered by the council – improving access to the existing Cotton Field Park,” she added.

The exchange of contracts for the site has been in the works for months, with MCC having signed off the land disposal back in January.

GPA’s civil service hub would be the first phase of MCC’s wider plans for the 10.5-acre former Central Retail Park site, which it acquired for £37m in 2017 from TH Real Estate. MCC’s ambition for the site includes up to 1.25m sq ft of offices with ground floor retail and leisure spaces, as well as public realm.

Your Comments

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Has the timing been made so part of the site actually has some sort of finished building after 10 years of laying vacant? with the impending elections what stops the incumbent party to shelve these plans?

By Anonymous

Very good news although I know people will be pushing for as much Green space as possible. This commitment to Manchester by the Government can only be positive overall although pretty sure people will put their own spin on it very quickly!

By Gym Hacker

Excellent news – 7000 well paid jobs coming to the city with hopefully more to come on the remainder of the site.

By Anonymous

Fantastic economics news for Manchester.

By jrb

Let’s hope Britain does the right thing in the GE, Manchester has thrived since 2010

By Gilly

Can a Civil Servant ‘be inspired’?

By Bentley Driver

Strategic patience rewarded, MCC got what they wanted. You suspect this part of town once it’s completed its gentrification journey will get increasingly NIMBY, and will then maybe swing Green or Lib Dem, especially with Labour in national government. Need to get all the chess pieces moved into place.

By Rich X

Surely the question we should all be asking is “what part of the civil service will be incorporated into the Manchester Digital Campus?”. Both the Council and the GPA can, and should, tell us that now.

By Anonymous

Shame about the betrayal of HS2 from this government in the fag end of its existence, and of course London Labour seized every opportunity, to not reinstate when they form the next regionalist government. Manchester has thrived because of outstanding local government and a high profile mayor. This is the sort of scheme you’d see in Swindon. I am more excited about the big international brands coming to Manchester, than a government looking for a cheaper place to dump non-jobs.

By Elephant

I’ve suggested to my local labour councillor to consider building a compact secondary school on part of the retail site. The city centre needs a secondary school if it wants to retain families. The school could use the sports facilities at the Etihad and pitches in Ardwick green.

By Piccadilly parent

I thought previously PNW had said that there will be a new civil service hub at First St. presumably this is in addition to that and will actually mean new jobs and and not just consolidation of existing office space.

By Anonymous

Piccadilly Parent: How right you are. Place-making or community-making with families (if you are odd and like other people) means more than office and apartment blocks.

By Anonymous

Now you know why your regional mayor was re-elected. He knows how to squeeze out government funds.

By Brian

Don’t all civil servants work from home now ?

By Know nowt

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