UoM pulls design competition for £40m Pankhurst Project

The University of Manchester has cancelled design and consultancy tenders for its 12,000 sq ft Pankhurst Centre for Research in Health, Technology & Innovation, citing “external funding issues”.

Contract notices for an architectural-led multidisciplinary services, worth £700,000, and a cost management and consultancy contract, worth £400,000, were first issued in May this year.

Both have now been withdrawn, with the University stating the procurement had been “discontinued due to external funding issues”, with a new procurement process due to be launched “in due course”.

The centre is planned as a technology and innovation hub for health and research into medical devices, health informatics and biotechnology.

The building is planned as part of Corridor Manchester, the science cluster in and around Oxford Road. It would provide nearly 12,000 sq ft of laboratory space, and would be located “very close” to CityLabs and other University academic buildings.

The building is expected to cost £40m, backed by £20m of capital funding from the Government. The University was looking at “several options” for the centre’s location, according to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, which added the “the best option” for the centre would be a “major redevelopment in light of potential further funding”.

The GMCA approved a £5m grant for the project in February this year, which was earmarked to go towards design, surveys, legal fees, and refurbishment of existing premises.

Council documents said the grant would “ensure the Pankhurst Centre would be well positioned to bid for further significant funding from the £b2n Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.”

“However, if such initial work is not funded and carried out then the Pankhurst will not be ready to seek further funds from the ISCF.”

The ISCF was launched in November 2016, and forms part of the Government’s investments in research and development over the next four years.

A University spokesperson said: “The University is currently going through the business case process with GMCA.

“The tender process is valid only for a specific length of time so it is sensible to close down the current procurement with a view to starting a new exercise once we have finalised the business case and have more certainty over the overall funding package.”

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