Firms move into Sharp Project office containers

Michael Hunt

New East Manchester, the urban regeneration company, has welcomed its first tenants to the container offices at The Sharp Project.

The glass container offices form part of the digital media hub that used to be the former Sharp European Distribution Centre on Thorp Road.

The warehouse in Newton Heath is being refurbished into a £16.5m complex to provide sound stages, office and production space.

A total of 52 containers have been used to provide 32 office spaces. One single container is 160 sq ft and can accommodate up to three people, while a double container office unit can fit up to five people at 320 sq ft.

Ken Campbell, boss of The Boot Room, a Manchester web design and digital video agency, which has been working alongside NEM on The Sharp Project since day one, said: "We have six containers occupied with another three companies moving in within the next week having signed leases.

"Cost for a single container is £40 a week and for a double, which is effectively two singles combined, it costs £75 a week. The cost does not include power but covers service charges and business rates. It's a cost effective solution offering companies an easy in and easy out solution. Of course, there will be opportunities for companies wishing to expand to move into the proper offices which form part of project."

The Sharp Project container officeNorthern Media, graphic design firm Unusual, and production company ABF Pictures are amongst those companies occupying the container offices.

The Sharp Project will include a total of 15,000 sq ft of office space for use by digital media companies, as well as a studio and design offices block with catering, reception and social facilities, together with approximately 38,000 sq ft of production space available on flexible terms.

A combined £6.3m of funding has been put towards the project from the North West Development Agency and European Regional Development Fund.

The funding was in addition to the investment from Manchester City Council in acquiring the building and preparing it for occupiers.

The building complex provides a total of about 200,000 sq ft of office and production accommodation and is within a short walk of the Central Park transport interchange, which incorporates a Metrolink station, which is due to open in 2011.

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