The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne has unveiled plans for the development of a £659million ‘Airport City’ – the first of its kind in the UK – at Manchester Airport in the North West of England.
Designated as one of the UK Government’s new Enterprise Zones last March, the Airport City project has received a substantial amount of interest and the detailed masterplan created by Manchester Airports Group (MAG), sets out the vision to transform Manchester Airport from a transport hub into an international business destination in its own right.
Building on the global connectivity offered by the airport location, the 150-acre regeneration scheme will deliver over five-million square feet of new high-quality business premises, with the aim of attracting international companies that would not previously have located in the region, or even the UK.
Becoming fully operational from April 2012, it is estimated that the wider 116-hectare Manchester Enterprise Zone will create up to 20,000 new jobs over the next 15-years. The Airport City project will be a focal point of the Manchester Enterprise Zone proposition, alongside a MediPark development at University Hospital South Manchester and Wythenshawe town centre – sites all linked by a new Metrolink tramline currently under construction – and complemented by a series of smaller opportunity sites in across South Manchester.
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Airport City will fill the gap in the market that currently exists for a high quality and well-connected environment for businesses that need access to a major British city and to a global marketplace. Airport City will provide an innovative and complementary offer to Greater Manchester’s existing assets, rather than competing against them, adding new capacity to the city’s existing dynamic economy. Manchester is well placed with an international offer based on established academic research and technology, innovative businesses, communications and transport infrastructure.”
The detailed ‘stage two’ Masterplan for Airport City, unveiled today, identifies the creation of two core Airport City zones. The first is a development area adjacent to the airport’s existing railway station and to north of the M56, which will focus on hotel, office, retail and advanced manufacturing uses – whilst a second area adjacent to the existing cargo centre at Junction 6 of the M56, will focus on freight and logistics uses.