Latest phase of Sharp Project fully let

All of the converted shipping containers have been let in Manchester City Council's new digital and media business centre.

Twenty three firms have taken occupation of the unusual office units, either single containers of 160 sq ft or twin sets of containers at 320 sq ft.

The 38 containers are rented on a weekly basis for £40/week for a single container and £75/week for a double container.

The full sign went up after the final three deals to Barefoot VFX, HG Films and Sizzle Media.

JP Hersey, of visual effects company HG Films, which has been working on the rebranding of Coronation Street, said: "We're really pleased to be part of the Sharp Project. It's this sort of business model that we believe is the future for the media industry. Rather than one over sized company with huge overheads, what we have here is a bunch of smaller more flexible and responsive companies that offer a huge range of skill sets and talent under one roof, so we can expand or retract to respond to the project's needs. That's what's exciting about this building."

Dave Fothergill, head of 3D at visual effects company, Barefoot VFX, which has taken a double shipping container, said: "We looked at a couple of places when setting up but decided on the Sharp Project simply because it's got the potential to be something fantastic. It's growing into a whole new environment of like-minded people with everyone working together."

Aftab Ali, creative director of web design agency Sizzle Media, said: "This kind of creative office space really suits companies like Sizzle Media, and being part of the Sharp Project at this early stage is very exciting. There's a real buzz about the place; there are already several residents we have spoken to about collaborating on projects."

The £16.5m, 200,000 sq ft project in a former Sharp factory is being delivered by urban regeneration company New East Manchester. It is funded by Manchester City Council, the North West Development Agency and the European Regional Development Fund. Phase one was completed in April. The building is located on Thorp Road, off Oldham Road and next to Central Park's Gateway transport interchange, which includes a Metrolink station, due to open in spring 2011.

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The more i hear about this the more I like it, sensible, well thought through and commercially sound. Be interesting to see in years to come if it pays for itself or if the council has to subsidise it, as it’s a not-for-profit organisation.

By Manna

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