Occupier interest grows in £650m Airport City

Manchester Airport has 16 firm leads from a range of potential tenants interested in taking space in the new development, director John Atkins said ahead of a visit from George Osborne on Thursday.

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The enquiries have come from hotel groups, office tenants and logistics firms and include an airline on the look-out for 60,000 sq ft of office space. Atkins also said he and his Manchester Airports Group Developments project team for Airport City had started actively selling the site around the world including presenting to surveyors in New York who handle the office requirements for global corporations.

Speaking as the finishing touches were put to the new marketing suite in Olympic House ahead of the Chancellor's visit, Atkins said a planning application for £27m of road and utility services to feed the development site would be submitted in February.

Work on the road would start as soon as planning permission is granted and take around 12 months to complete. Following completion, the first phase of the buildings will start on site. Phase one totals 1.85m sq ft and includes:

  • Offices: 550,000 sq ft
  • Logistics: 500,000 sq ft
  • Advanced manufacturing: 100,000 sq ft
  • Hotels: 700,000 sq ft
  • Multi-storey car park
  • Transport interchange incorporating the new Metrolink line

A bid to the government's Regional Growth Fund for £10m towards the cost of the road and services was unsuccessful but talks are progressing well with the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, which last year was handed a £50m 'unallocated' pot by the government, as well as the European Regional Development Fund and European Investment Bank.

The updated master-plan for Airport City separates the scheme, which could total between 4m sq ft and 5m sq ft over the next 15 years, into two distinct parks, the north park for offices and hotels, the south park side for logistics and advanced manufacturing.

The tender document for a strategic partner or consortium of partners is due to be published next month with selection by the end of 2012. Atkins said he is remaining flexible as to whether it is a developer, investor, contractor or a mixture that forms the alliance.

Manchester Airport is also one of the government's Enterprise Zones, qualifying for rate relief for occupiers, broadband infrastructure, UK Trade & Investment support and simplified planning regime. The local authority can also retain additional business rates generated in the zone for at least 25 years.

A proposed biosciences MediPark at University Hospital of South Manchester in Wythenshawe is also part of the Enterprise Zone.

The master-plan team for Airport City includes Urban Strategies, Drivers Jonas Deloitte, Jones Lang LaSalle, 5plus Architects, Aecom, Davis Langdon, and Planit.

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