Manchester University fires starting gun for £1.5bn city centre development

The University of Manchester has taken the first steps to find investors and development partners for a £1.5bn Innovation District in Manchester city centre, to be called ID Manchester.

The university last week submitted a prior information notice to the EU’s Official Journal, prior to launching tenders for a 10.5 ha quarter, which it says will be a "dynamic, world-class community with innovation, collaboration and enterprise at its heart, with the potential to create over 6,000 jobs".

Nancy Rothwell, the university’s vice-chancellor, said: "We are looking for the very best joint-venture partner to work with us to develop this prime site in the heart of the city which will generate thousands of new jobs and will enhance the reputation of the University and the city as the place where the world’s most valuable ideas are transformed into reality."

The university occupies the recently opened £60m Masdar Building, home to the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre, and the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology at the south end of the site and is looking for a partner to develop the remaining 6.6ha.

The proposed site is adjacent to Piccadilly Station and the future HS2 station, and is a 20-minute train journey to the international airport. It includes the 650,000 sq ft grade II-listed Sackville Street Building, which it says "offers a fantastic opportunity for re-purposing". The university suggests that the quarter could comprise as much as 3.5 million sq ft of mixed-use space.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: "The potential of ID Manchester is huge. There are tremendous opportunities to regenerate this distinctive part of the city and we welcome the university’s growth, investment and job-creation ambitions for the development."

Image: The ID Manchester Site (Manchester University)

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