Aerial view after completion

Enterprise Zone growth on the cards in Autumn Statement

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

An expansion of the Manchester enterprise zone may be announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in December, with plans for an extension of MediPark and Airport City South.

According to a report published ahead of today's meeting of the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities scrutiny committee, a business case for the expansion has been put forward at the request of the Department for Communities & Local Government. If accepted, the news will form part of George Osborne's Autumn Statement on 3 December.

The Manchester enterprise zone consists of a series of linked sites focused around Manchester Airport, University Hospital of South Manchester with MediPark and Roundthorn, Atlas Business Park and Wythenshawe town centre.

A joint venture partnership between Beijing Construction Engineering Group, Carillion and the Greater Manchester Pension Fund is funding the £800m development at Airport City, working alongside the Manchester Airports Group. Argent is the development manager.

According to the report, the JV has occupier interest on 300,000 sq ft of office space and around 500 hotel bedrooms, with proposals and conversations at various stages of development with prospective occupiers.

There is active occupier interest on 200,000 sq ft of space and 12 acres of land at Airport City South, including an 80,000 sq ft enquiry following the China Roadshow in June 2014.

Argent has been instructed to evaluate options for a speculative logistics development, comprising a series of small terraced units on Airport City South, alongside two office developments that could be delivered quickly to meet smaller existing requirements.

Due to the level of activity, the JV has requested that Argent appoints "a senior figure from the agency world to lead the marketing of the site", and act as a dedicated lead for Airport City.

At University Hospital of South Manchester's Medipark site, the report said that Hospital Corporation of America had appointed Medipark as developer to bring forward a 60,000 sq ft private healthcare facility. The legals are expected to be complete before Christmas 2014 and the development is due to be on site in the second quarter of 2015.

Discussions are ongoing with Medtronic, the medical technology company, to bring forward a 30,000 sq ft facility on the Hospital Campus. A memorandum of understanding is now in place between both parties, and the facility is expected to be used for Medtronic and other occupiers such as GE or Olympus, to train and develop expertise in the use of their technologies.

Manchester Airports Group declined to comment on the deals currently under discussion. Medipark and Argent were unavailable at the time of going to press.

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Gotta say, Manchester seems to be doing well out of the Tories. Is Mr Osborne to Manchester what Heseltine was to Liverpool?

By Labour Voter