Manchester College aims for 2022 opening

LTE Group, operator of Manchester College, is seeking completion by summer 2022 following the official appointment of contractor Willmott Dixon on the £54m first phase of its city centre campus.

The campus plot forms part of the former Boddington’s brewery site close to the Manchester Arena. This element represents the first of a two-phase plan for the site and will become home to the college’s Industry Excellence Academy, focused on creative and digital industries, as well as UCEN Manchester’s Arden School of Theatre and Manchester Film School – UCEN is LTE’s higher education provider.

Place North West understands that although work has been ongoing at the site since just before lockdown in March, things are now “beginning in earnest” with a formal groundbreaking ceremony to happen in the coming weeks. Place first linked WD to the college project in April 2019.

Architects Bond Bryan and SimpsonHaugh are working in collaboration on the four-storey development, which will include two industry-standard theatres and two film studios as well as media, computing and editing suites, recording and photography studios, dance studios and rehearsal rooms, and bespoke practical spaces for hospitality, media make-up and special effects.

The project represents part of a £140m estates masterplan for LTE involving a total £140m investment for The Manchester College and UCEN Manchester. Phase two at the £93m city centre campus will comprise an academy for business, financial and professional services studies, subject to further funding.

The campus project involves a funding collaboration between LTE Group, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Greater Manchester LEP and Manchester City Council, alongside commercial backing from Santander.

John Thornhill, LTE Group’s chief executive, said: “The new campus is the catalyst for growth in education and skills and a fantastic opportunity to create a legacy for the people of Greater Manchester for generations to come.

“The investment comes at a time of economic and employment uncertainty, but this transformational project will underpin the development of the region’s thriving media, creative and digital industries and will stimulate job creation and new company start-ups across the North West.”

Anthony Dillon, managing director for Willmott Dixon in the north, said: “This new college campus is a real statement of intent which will position Manchester as the UK’s leading centre of learning for industries that will help shape a dynamic future economy for the UK.”

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