4M Manchester Airport

The Hut Group signs at Airport City

Charlie Schouten

MAG Property has secured its largest office deal to date at Manchester Airport with The Hut Group taking 51,000 sq ft at two buildings as the ecommerce giant continues with a major recruitment drive.

The Hut Group has taken 27,000 sq ft at 4M, next to the airport’s train station, on a 10-year lease as well as around 24,000 sq ft at Voyager, only a few metres away, on a five-year lease as part of its expansion plan at the site.

The company announced it would be creating “thousands” of jobs at new locations last year, and was long-rumoured to be eyeing a new-build office as part of MAG’s Airport City development.

The group’s leases are between five and 10 years, leaving the door open for a potential move to the new office campus at Airport City, with a requirement believed to be around 250,000 sq ft.

However, it understood these plans are still at very early stages, and the deal at 4M could potentially be extended with the company considering making the building one of its key locations by making it its registered office at Companies House.

Lynda Shillaw, chief executive of MAG Property, said: “We’re delighted to welcome THG to Manchester Airport. The Airport City location is starting to establish itself as a digital business hub, taking advantage of the unrivalled global connectivity on its doorstep.

“Airport City is able to offer unrivalled scale in a mid-urban setting, being ideally located between Manchester City Centre and Cheshire. What’s more, we can tailor deals and afford our partners the opportunity to expand and future proof their business needs.

“The THG deal embodies all of these qualities and we’re excited to welcome them to the airport campus.”

At Airport City, MAG is proposing around 1m sq ft of office space, alongside hotels, manufacturing, transport, and industrial space as part of its 5m sq ft masterplan.

MAG had previously offered an “office guide” for potential design-and-build occupiers, using a team of five architects: 5plus; AEW; Bennetts Associates; Cartwright Pickard; and FaulknerBrowns.

These individual office buildings ranged between 85,000 sq ft and 15,000 sq ft in size, and with floorplates between 17,000 sq ft and 5,000 sq ft, but these designs are no longer being used.

Other occupiers rumoured to be considering a base at the site include Barclays, which was reported to be weighing up its options for a 600,000 sq ft requirement earlier this year.

As well as offices, there will be four new hotels at the airport by 2021, with MAG announcing last month it will deliver 1,171 hotel beds as part of a £180m “hotel quarter”.

These include a Holiday Inn and an Ibis Budget hotel at Terminal 2, and a Hilton Garden Inn and a Hampton By Hilton opposite the train station.

Main contractor BCEGI is due to start work on the Ibis Budget and Holiday Inn by 2019, while the Hilton hotels both secured planning consent earlier this year.

CBRE and JLL are the retained agents for Airport City.

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Exceptional news. Great to see activity at Airport City gathering real pace.

By Chateau Musar