An undisclosed shortlist of developers competing to buy the 400-acre commercial science campus in Cheshire has entered a due diligence period with vendor AstraZeneca.
Around half-a-dozen firms are understood to have started a data room exercise to closely examine the liabilities and condition of the estate, between Macclesfield and Knutsford, which AZ is due to largely vacate in the next three years.
In March, the drugs giant announced suddenly that 1,600 jobs would be lost at Alderley Park, with roles switched to a proposed new facility in Cambridge as part of a global restructuring programme. There will be a phased exit from the Cheshire site up until 2016. Around 700 non-research posts will remain in Alderley Park after 2016.
Cheshire East Council is working with AZ in a task force that includes Manchester City Council and Manchester University to attract new tenants to the park. So far a handful of smaller firms have agreed to move to the campus, under the Alderley Park BioHub brand.
The buyer would get 1.5m sq ft of existing quality laboratories and offices. There is also the option of developing non-science premises including possibly a specialist school, hotel or housing on a minority of the land.
The site opened 40 years ago and scientists there worked on several cancer drugs and cardiac treatment beta blockers.
Jones Lang LaSalle is advising AstraZeneca. No guide price has been put on the site.
All parties declined to comment.