Details have been released of Project Digital – the mysterious technology consortium lining up a series of lettings in Manchester – but the identities of the companies behind the inward investment are still being kept secret.
In a joint statement, the local advisers handling the project named 13 of 20 buildings where space is under offer and terms have been agreed for ten-year leases. Known until now as Project Digital, the new name for the 'highly confidential brief' was unveiled today as Tomorrow.
The local project team consists of Atul Bansal, director of interior design practice Sheila Bird Group, Andrew Timms, director of agents Edwards & Co, Richard Parkinson at Turner Parkinson Solicitors and Ben Davies at design agency The Neighbourhood. Neil Cuckson, partner at EC Harris, is advising on cost management and CDMC Services on the fit-out of the portfolio.
The joint statement said: "Each site will host ground-breaking technology that will enable local firms to explore and access business solutions, knowledge and data in an intuitive and interactive format that is completely innovative and unprecedented. The technology will be linked across all 20 buildings to facilitate collaborative problem solving, new product/service development and commercial innovation."
Bansal added: "This is an unbelievably exciting prospect for Manchester, as the first city to have access to this revolutionary technology and the potential it has to transform local businesses and the way they work, individually and together.
"As design director my team and I have had the opportunity to explore new ideas, pushing the boundaries to create a revolutionary concept. All of the spaces will differ both in style and design intent; none of the spaces will have a corporate style.
"There is nothing like this anywhere else in the world. The walls will be 'alive' and 'Tomorrow' will drive a new approach to work interactions and conversations."
Timms added: "We have approached location-mapping the Tomorrow acquisitions the same way you would a coffee franchise. Each of the buildings has been carefully selected in areas where there is a strong, critical mass of occupiers and businesses. Having one of the offerings only a short walk from the workplace will maximise accessibility and localism, enabling far more companies to benefit from this technology.
"We have had to work off market and ask for a lot of trust from landlords and office agents in lining up the deals, as we are unable to disclose who the tenant is as yet, with only the reassurance that the covenant is of the highest standard. It is fantastic to see something as unique as this come to Manchester first and for us to play such a significant part of the delivery team.
"I am delighted to be able to name the following buildings and we look forward to the next stage of rolling Tomorrow out in London."
The buildings with agreed terms are both in and out-of-town, and include:
- The Hive, 47 Lever Street, Northern Quarter
- 1 New York Street
- Chancery Place
- Orange, MediaCityUK
- Number One First Street
- The Peninsula Manchester
- Riverside, New Bailey Street
- 304, Bridgewater Place
- Towers, Manchester
- Booths Park, Knutsford
- 196 Deansgate
- Manchester Science Park