RGF bid submitted for Airport City

MAG Developments, the property arm of the Manchester Airports Group, has placed a bid of £10m from round two of the Government's £1.4bn Regional Growth Fund.

MAG said the funding would be used to accelerate the development of Airport City, a 2m sq ft enterprise zone development at Manchester Airport.

The Regional Growth Fund investment would be used towards site preparation and funding infrastructure to support the construction of commercial floor space that would kick-start the first phase of the development project.

MAG said four international companies have agreed to pre-let the space but declined to disclose any further details when contacted by Place.

MAG said the vision for the 60-acre Airport City and the wider enterprise zone will connect University Hospital of South Manchester, Roundthorn, Sharston and Wythenshawe town centre. The types of businesses being targeted include logistics, freight forwarders, advanced manufacturers, those seeking high quality office accommodation, research and development; plus science and health related uses building on the proximity to the University Hospital of South Manchester as a centre of excellence, in addition complementary retail, leisure and visitor accommodation to support offer.

John Atkins, managing director at MAG Developments, said: "Of all the designated Enterprise Zone projects, Airport City is probably the one at the most advanced stage – we intend to commence infrastructure development on site by the end of this financial year. However, to do this we need to invest in the project to help bring it to the market. We are looking at additional funding options to support our own investment and progress the first phase development programme, including a £10m RGF bid that will enable us to deliver infrastructure required to support the construction of a number of pre-lets, and in turn stimulate further private sector led economic growth and investment.

"This will not be one development but a place-making project over a 10 to 15-year period involving a number of development parcels."

MAG submitted its bid for round two of the Regional Growth Fund at the start of July and expects a decision from the Government in early autumn.

MAG said the enabling works will include utilities, services and structural landscaping, plus pedestrian and vehicle access to the core proposition of the Airport City development site.

Work on a new Metrolink tramline that will run direct into the heart of the Manchester Airport City enterprise zone site by 2016 is also well underway, with the Outwood Lane bridge currently being widened to accommodate the Metrolink line running underneath, adjacent to the existing rail lines. Tree clearance along the route alignment behind the airport Hilton Hotel and the diversion of utility services are also being undertaken.

MAG appointed Drivers Jonas Deloitte and Jones Lang LaSalle to lead on the planning and commercial delivery of the masterplan, with infrastructure set to commence on site in 2012.

The Government announced in April that £450m of public investment is supporting 50 bids from companies and partnerships across England from the first round of the Regional Growth Fund.

This included funding towards the conversion of the former Royal Eye Hospital on Oxford Road in Manchester into a 100,000 sq ft biomedical centre, being delivered by Bruntwood, Manchester Science Parks and Manchester City Council.

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