MAG to start on Airport City in 2012

Manchester Airports Group is taking plans for a 2m sq ft office-led expansion on 60 acres to public consultation, following endorsement from Manchester City Council.

MAG Developments, the property division of the airport operator which accounts for 25% of group profit, has worked on the masterplan for Airport City with Urban Strategies, Drivers Jonas Deloitte and Jones Lang Lasalle assisting on its preparation.

Last month, Manchester Airport was announced as one of the Government's first four Enterprise Zones, with Airport City at the core of the zone.

Manchester Airports Group will be working alongside other stakeholders and local authorities to bring forward proposals for a definitive boundary and the required governance arrangements for the zone as soon as possible. Now that the core proposition has been endorsed, phase one of the development will now go out for public consultation.

Charlie Cornish, chief executive of the Manchester Airports Group, said: "This announcement represents a significant achievement for the Greater Manchester region and an exciting opportunity to move forward with the Airport City proposal so that we can realise the potential for creating over 7,000 jobs, while seeing additional revenues re-invested throughout Greater Manchester. In partnership with our key stakeholders, we will be progressing the project straight away and looking to build on this opportunity for the region."

John Atkins, managing director of MAG Developments, added: "We welcome the agreement of the council executive as it allows us to prepare for a start on site early in 2012."

MAG said Airport City is a concept, the first phase of which is located on land between the airport and Wythenshawe, to the north of the airport. It will connect the initial development close to the airport with a wider set of opportunities within Wythenshawe including the University Hospital of South Manchester's Medipark initiative and the regeneration of the town centre.

MAG said Airport City will aim to build on the global connectivity of the airport and create a project to compete with other locations in Barcelona, Amsterdam and Dusseldorf.

MAG added that airport cities require infrastructure capacity and an ability to grow the network of direct air routes; first class ground transportation and associated developable land assets to support the new function, which are all available at Manchester Airport.

The concept of Airport City looks at attracting businesses from sectors such as logistics and freight, as well as those seeking high quality office accommodation for research and development and health related uses with an aim of building on the proximity to Wythenshawe Hospital as a centre of excellence, plus visitor accommodation, hotels and leisure uses.

As announced during last month's Budget, the Enterprise Zones are expected to benefit from a business rate discount worth up to £275,000 per eligible business over a five year period, while all business rate growth within the zone for a period of at least 25 years will be shared and retained by the local area, to ensure that Enterprise Zone growth is reinvested locally.

MAG anticipates submitting a detailed planning application, subject to the public consultation, by the end of 2011.

Work on the first phase of Airport City is aimed to begin in 2012.

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