Lawrence Jones, founder and chief executive of Manchester technology firm UKFast, has agreed a deal with Manchester City Council to acquire the 120,000 sq ft plot of land opposite the firm’s Birley Fields campus.
The deal, subject to sign-off by the council’s executive, forms the next stage in UKFast’s expansion plans. The company’s current campus comprises two 40,000 sq ft buildings, 1 and 3 Archway, and the 30,000 sq ft FastForward tech incubator, housed in the former Laing O’Rourke office bought in 2017 by UKFast. The incubator is managed by Tech Manchester and currently houses 15 businesses.
UKFast intends to develop in two phases at the currently vacant site, with the first stage including an office building of at least 30,000 sq ft with surface car parking. Phase two is to bring further office space forward, along with a multi-storey car park. An underground data centre may be included within the basement of one or both phases.
Jones said: “From the moment I walked into the first Archway building I saw a much bigger picture, and knew we needed the building opposite and the land over the road. This is the first step in an incredibly exciting and ambitious move to support our development, but also to help the wider tech community.
“We’re investing to ensure the future development of our workforce and to support Manchester’s fast-growing economy.”
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “This expansion is important news. UKFast is an innovative company with a strong sense of social responsibility, helping Manchester’s people gain digital skills and access opportunities.
“This is the final piece in the jigsaw of the Birley Fields development and will make a major contribution to the ongoing regeneration of Hulme and the surrounding area.”