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January 15, 2012

UK unveils £650m Manchester Airport City plan

The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has unveiled a plan for the £650m Airport City development at Manchester Airport.

Manchester Airport City

The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has unveiled a plan for the £650m Airport City development at Manchester Airport.

The master plan created by Manchester Airports Group (MAG) aims to transform Manchester Airport from a transport hub into an international business destination offering high-quality spaces to companies. Leader of Manchester City Council Richard Leese said that 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 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," Leese said.

"Manchester is well-placed with an international offer based on established academic research and technology, innovative businesses, communications and transport infrastructure."

The 150-acre regeneration project will create over five million square feet of new high-quality business premises and create up to 20,000 jobs over the next 15 years. The development will be divided into two zones, with the first zone comprising 1.85 million square feet of hotel, office, retail and advanced manufacturing space near Manchester Airport’s existing train station.

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The second zone will focus on freight and logistics space and will be created next to the airport’s existing cargo centre at Junction 6 of the M56 motorway. Upon completion, there will be 1.5 million square feet of offices, 650,000ft2 of advanced manufacturing space, up to 100,000ft2 of retail and leisure units, around 2,400 new hotel beds and 1.4 million square feet of logistics and warehousing units.

There will also be an 800m-long landscaped Central Park area featuring a number of pavilions and a large-scale event space. The Central Park will integrate with the existing green space at Painswick Park. MAG expects to start work on the first stage of the development in spring 2012, subject to planning permission.

MAG CEO Charlie Cornish said that the Airport City concept has been in development for a number of years and the company is now bringing it to the market by commencing the first stage of construction.

"We feel that this project presents a generational opportunity not only for the wider region, but nationally in order to attract new investment to the UK during the economic downturn," Cornish added.

The first stage of the project will involve the construction of roads, landscaping, infrastructure and utility. Planning permission for the main site link road is due to be submitted within the next few weeks and approval could see work start in spring, with completion within 12-15 months.

Caption: The Manchester Airport City development intends to transform the transport hub into an international business destination. Image: Manchester Airports Group.

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