Bruntwood is expected to use its Manchester Science Park subsidiary to transform AstraZeneca's Alderley Park if its acquisition of the 400-acre science campus, the subject of market speculation this week, completes.
Bruntwood's MSP already has strong links with the vendor. The other shareholders in MSP are Manchester University, Manchester Metropolitan University, and Manchester and Salford councils. Bruntwood bought a 51% controlling stake in MSP in 2012 as part of a long-term plan to move into the science sector. The Alderley Park task force committee, set up by Cheshire East Council and AstraZeneca following the pharmaceutical giant's decision in June 2013 to relocate 1,600 staff to Cambridge, has among its members Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, and Dame Nancy Rothwell, president and vice-chancellor of Manchester University and a non-executive board member of AstraZeneca.
A spokesman for AstraZeneca declined to confirm if Bruntwood had been selected. He said the company was pleased with progress being made by the taskforce and the redevelopment process with BioHub but would not comment further on this interim stage of the sale process.
Vacant space at Alderley Park is currently being redeveloped under the BioHub brand and let by Bionow, a specialist in helping spin-out companies with roots in university research. Bionow advises Manchester University spin-outs.
MSP currently operates from four sites: Oxford Road, Manchester; Technopark in Hulme, Salford Innovation Park and Central Park, Manchester. Bruntwood is currently on site with 100,000 sq ft of offices and labs at Citylabs, the former Royal Eye Hospital in Manchester.
Alderley Park contains 1.5m sq ft of offices and labs. Part of the site could be developed for residential, hotel or leisure uses. Bids are understood to have ranged from £30m to £50m. Bruntwood is said to have beaten Telereal Trilium, Discovery Park, backed by Palmer Capital, and residential developer Huntsmere.
Jones Lang LaSalle advises AstraZeneca.
Bruntwood declined to comment.