Owens Park redevelopment BDP
A planning application for the overhaul of Owens Park was approved at the end of 2015

Funder pulls out of £175m Owens Park redevelopment

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

The University of Manchester and Mubadala Development Company have ended their partnership on the £175m redevelopment of Owens Park, which would have seen the Abu Dhabi-based investor fund the overhaul of the Fallowfield student campus.

In a statement, the University of Manchester said: “Since December 2014, the University of Manchester and Mubadala Development Company’s real estate and infrastructure team have been working in partnership to develop detailed designs and the business plan for the new Fallowfield student village, which was granted planning approval in December 2015.

“In the course of completing this phase it has become clear that an alternative funding model will be optimal for the delivery of the new accommodation. The University of Manchester and Mubadala have therefore mutually agreed not to proceed with their current collaboration agreement.

“The University of Manchester is committed to redeveloping the Fallowfield student village to provide new student rooms and facilities and is now developing a new business plan and funding model to enable this exciting development to proceed.”

Owens Park is the university’s main residential site and is dominated by a 1960s-built tower block. The designs by BDP include the demolition and rebuilding of 2,200 bedrooms and the provision of a further 800 bedrooms.

The university announced in 2014 that it had secured funding from Mubadala Development Company to deliver the project. Mubadala is wholly-owned by the Government of Abu Dhabi.

A public contract notice said the university had cancelled its procurement of a contractor, as the tenders received “were substantially in excess of the budget and made the project unaffordable in its current form”.

The search for a contractor was launched last June, with the contract valued at around £120m. The first phase of units were due for completion in 2018.

The university said that further updates will be provided as plans progress.

In a separate project, Mubadala is partially funding the development of the Graphene Engineering & Innovation Centre. The University of Manchester has joint research and fellowship programmes under development with Masdar, Mubadala’s renewable energy and clean technology subsidiary.

Your Comments

Is this the uni trying to do things on the cheap or construction costs inflation?

By Anon

Who has been advising the University on this?

By M40

It’s the same on all the framework contracts too – over optimistic cost plans and the PQS’s trying to defend them, hence none of the jobs getting to site.

By Insider

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