MAG submits plans for £650m Airport City

David McCourt

Manchester Airport's parent company has put in its planning application to build the UK's first Airport City in Manchester's Enterprise Zone.

The development would create a new commercial location including offices, hotels, manufacturing centres, retail and leisure facilities.

The outline planning application is for the comprehensive, phased redevelopment of a 65-acre area of land to the north of Manchester Airport's terminals and railway station.

Currently a mix of scrubland and temporary airport car parking, the site is bordered by the M56 spur road and Woodhouse Park area of Wythenshawe.

The proposals include:
• 1.2m sq ft of offices
• 530,000 sq ft of advanced manufacturing space
• 1,300 hotel beds
• 62,000 sq ft of ancillary retail
• Extensive public realm and open-space, including a 13 acre central park
• Multi-storey car parking and cycle spaces
• A landscaped 'green bridge' over the M56 spur road to provide pedestrian access

Employment, education and training programmes are underway to maximise the use of local labour and supply chains. Initiatives such as the Airport Academy and Manchester Airport Group's sponsorship of nearby Manchester Enterprise Academy will also be extended to Airport City.

The centrepiece of the proposed development is a 13 acre central park, surrounded by a downtown district of buildings and public areas.

Retail and amenities will occupy the ground level of key buildings to create a high street, including: shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, crèches, health and medical centres, dry cleaners, gym and leisure facilities. The supporting amenities will enable the development to be self-sustaining, generating footfall and will benefit residents in the surrounding areas.

Community facilities are also planned to help promote the use of the area during evenings and weekends.

A range of hotels will be spread across the site and will include conference, event and catering space. Airport City will also have prioritised super-fast broadband connectivity, a benefit of the Government Enterprise Zone designation. Information centres, a bicycle hub and public artwork will also feature.

John Atkins, airport city director at MAG, said: "Airport City will attract investment from international businesses and become a catalyst for the wider long term regeneration of Wythenshawe, with the creation of thousands of new jobs.

"It brings a world-class commercial product that is sustainable and innovative to the UK for the first time and presents Manchester with an opportunity to add to its offer as a major European business city, and will enhance the airport's reputation as an economic hub and a global gateway to the UK.

"The aim is to create a modern business destination that makes full use of infrastructure already in place. The majority of workers and visitors will not drive to Airport City, instead they will walk, cycle, take a tram, bus, train or a plane.

"We have been working on this project for six years, examining airport cities across the world and how Manchester can successfully apply the concept. The planning submission demonstrates the progress we have made in the past 12 months and is a major step forward towards starting work on site."

Manchester-based 5plus Architects worked on the plans along with Drivers Jonas Deloitte and Jones Lang LaSalle, Urban Strategies Inc. Altrincham-based Planit are designing landscape and public realm areas, while AECOM and Davis Langdon are advising on transportation, energy, utilities, sustainability and cost consultancy. Global property advisor, CBRE, is also assisting M.A.G in the procurement of a delivery partner for the project.

MAG Airport City

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