Californian 3D visual content maker EON Reality is opening a European headquarters in One Central Park, the office building recently acquired by Manchester City Council to expand the Sharp Project.
EON Reality signed a 10-year lease with Manchester City Council for 10,000 sq ft in the building. EON Reality's business plan forecasts creation of 240 jobs in the next three years. Manchester College will remain in One Central Park and work with EON Reality. The research and development centre will open in January.
Dan Lejerskar, co-founder and chairman of EON Reality, heaped praised on Manchester. He said: "Manchester is the original technology city – they invented the computer and have been improving it ever since, designing, programming, creating content and sharing ideas. Manchester is the home of the UK's international internet exchange and the North West has the second largest creative cluster not only in the UK but in the whole of Europe. No other city in Europe has invested as much in its digital media and content operations – with billions being spent on creating a global hub for creative industries – just like EON Reality's European Centre. Manchester is perfectly placed to be the UK's digital city and a prominent player in the technology sector in Europe so it makes total sense to be located here."
EON Reality's Manchester centre will offer interactive and digital media technology solutions, training and professional services. The global interactive research and development centre will provide access to state of the art interactive 3D technologies including a virtual reality showroom, training room, project room, development lab, and 3D classroom infrastructure, creating a centre of excellence in Manchester and attracting customers from all over Europe.
EON Reality is also setting up an Entrepreneurial Coding School aimed at developing Manchester's workforce with interactive and 3D technology skills including coding, design and development, training 500 students over five years in digital skills.
Cllr Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: "This is great for Manchester. Not only will EON Reality's new base create 240 new jobs but it will offer training for thousands of young people in the increasingly marketable skill of computer coding. This is yet another example of the public and private sector working together to drive forward our ambition of Manchester becoming a global digital city by 2020."
EON Reality first approached Manchester in April, according to Tim Newns, chief executive of Midas, the inward investment agency.
Newns added: "Manchester is a very attractive home for the digital sector and we are receiving unprecedented interest from digital and tech companies right now. The pace of growth in this sector is highlighted by the speed of EON Reality who first approached Manchester in April and aim to open in January – creating hundreds of direct new jobs and bringing customers and partners from all over the world to this city."
EON Reality is headquartered in Irvine, California, and has offices in Singapore, France and Sweden.