Work has begun to knock down the Base building near the University of Manchester on Oxford Road and replace it with a five-storey, 91,000 sq ft workspace for computer engineering, manufacturing, science and technology companies.
The project, led by Manchester Science Partnerships comprising developer Bruntwood SciTech, Manchester City Council and the University of Manchester, was due to start earlier this year after planning consent was granted in January. However, disruption related to Covid-19 caused delays to the construction timeframe.
Caddick Construction is the main contractor on the £21m Base redevelopment, which marks the latest step forward for the city’s Oxford Road Corridor innovation district.
The project forms the second phase of the planned redevelopment of Manchester Science Park between Princess Road and the A34 from Manchester city centre, a regeneration framework for which was signed off by the council in September 2019. The first phase saw the opening of the Bright Building in 2018, and the completion of the Citylabs 2.0 campus in July this year.
A specialist office hub, Base will offer workspace specifically designed for companies working in high-growth, ‘Industry 4.0’ sectors, such as low-carbon, computer and energy technology, gaming and animation and materials sciences.
The five-storey block designed by Russell Bridge architects will include office space and laboratories as well as a dedicated workshop for prototyping new products or modifying existing ones. There will also be a welcome lounge, break-out spaces, meeting rooms, a roof terrace with accompanying event space, and outdoor green space.
The building will also be home to the new Manchester Innovation Activities Hub (MIAH), a community upskilling and training facility focussed on specialist technical skills for the low-carbon and other ‘knowledge economy’ industries, to be run by social enterprise The Blair Project.
Base will also be the first new-build development at Manchester Science Park to incorporate measures to achieve net-zero carbon operation. The scheme is due to complete towards the end of 2021.
Other members of the project team include Walker Sime, Buro Happold, DW Consulting Engineers and BDP.
Tom Renn, managing director of Bruntwood SciTech – Manchester, said: “Base will provide vital infrastructure for some of the UK’s most innovative businesses at the cutting-edge of industry.
“It marks another stage of growth and the continued evolution of Manchester Science Park as a magnet to attract world-class science and tech businesses to the city’s specialist ecosystem.”
Alec Bailey, project director of Caddick Construction North West, added: “Manchester Science Park is a high-profile life sciences community, and Caddick is delighted to be delivering the design and build of this latest development, which will boost the region’s economy.”
Caddick previously worked with Bruntwood SciTech at Alderley Park science park in Cheshire.
Base has received £4m through the Greater Manchester Combined Authority from the Government’s Getting Building Fund, and a further £15.5m loan is to be provided by the North West Evergreen Fund, managed by property consultancy CBRE’s investment advisory team, part of CBRE Capital Advisors.